My eyes focused in on a pushcart filled with cans and bottles. It was about fifteen feet from where Max was bent into a garbage bin looking for cans to recycle. I approached him and said, “Excuse me Sir. I am handing out warm socks for free tonight to anyone that may need them.” He popped his head out of the garbage and exclaimed, “Hey! You are the sock lady! I always need socks!” I immediately recognized him from the week before.
As I handed them to him he said the following. “Someone said they saw me on TV the other day on the news. I don’t have access to a TV so I haven’t seen myself. Don’t forget to tell people that I am not a charity case.”
It hit the center of my heart with an inexplicable pain when Max said this.
I explained to Max that if he had seen the live interview on NY1 he would have heard the part where I tell the host John Schiumo that the last thing I want is for people to feel like they are a charity case. Plus the interview helped to get more exposure for the project. Which in turn meant that people that wanted to help out a fellow citizen paid for the socks I just handed him.
After listening carefully to my explanation. He smiled at me and said, “That’s good because someday I am going to be a Fortune 500 CEO. Just wait and see!”
My smile widened and my heart was restored. I told him that he would make a great CEO because he knows what it is like to be without. He obviously isn’t afraid of a hard day of work from gathering cans in such cold weather. And, he could be an inspiration to others that dream of rising up out of poverty. The world would be a better place if we had more empathetic CEO’s.
He said, “You got it girl!” Then he gave me an elbow bump because his hands were full of cans.
I hope I walk by a newsstand someday and see him on the cover of every major publication.
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