April: The Man Behind the Glasses

I often wish that I could wear a head cam and record my day. There are many days I get home and it was such a whirlwind that I can’t remember what happened. On March 15, 2018 I decided to write down everything thing that happened in the day. I recorded amazing compliments, apologies, tragedies and a couple police incidents. I put my notebook away as the day was ending. Then this happened: At 2:00, Brian, Lewis and I were in the back loading the shelves with a late delivery of a couple hundred pounds of pet food, when there was a knock on the back door. Being a rare occurrence, I cautiously opened the door and there was Thomas, all 6’6 250lbs of him standing there with a broom in his hand. Confused, I said, “what are you doing?” “Someone just stole your garbage cart and three pallets” “Where did he go?” “You didn’t hear it from me, but he went that way.” He pointed I ran out the gate and to the left. I spotted the cart with “SUMS” scrawled down the side in big pink letters, loaded with three pallets and being pushed across King George by a young man. He was running. I picked up the pace as I watched the cart, pallets and cart pusher take a left on King George. I watched the crosswalk countdown and I picked up my pace 10 seconds and I am going to make it. I crossed King George, and as I did, I thought about tackling the young man, but instead I angled the cart into the curb. It stopped abruptly. He was wearing mirrored sunglasses and a hoodie but I recognized him as a guest who comes to the mission irregularly. Tired and out of breath I yelled, “what do you think your doing stealing from us?” “I am not stealing.” He said. “Are you kidding me?” I pointed at the pink lettering on the cart. “I know but I thought it would be ok.” He explained. “ Had you asked it would have been ok.” I meant it because we had been trying to get rid of the pallets for ages and I really didn’t want them back. He plead his case further, “But I thought it is just garbage.” Still fuming and out of breath I said, “It is garbage, but it is our garbage and you didn’t ask.” At this point the young man pushed back his hoodie, took off his sunglasses, looked me in the eyes, stuck out his hand and said, “My name is Darren”. What he really said was look at me, I am human and I am hurting. Stunned by this turn of events and the depth of love, compassion and understanding that suddenly entered the situation, I introduced myself to him and we became two men with a problem to resolve. “I am sorry I didn’t ask. I had to take my tent down for cleaning and my old pallets were stolen. They keep me off the ground and help my tent stay dry.” “But we need our cart” “I will carry the pallets from here” I decided to let him take the cart. “Just return it,” I said. “I promise”

Written by Mike Musgrove