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Very weird and kinda sad

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have to tell you what happened today...

Hubby asked me if I wanted to go out for lunch to the Chinese restaurant. I of course said yes, and off we went.

We had just sat down and started to eat when this lady who looked to be in her 50's I would guess, came in.
It was 2:30 so there wasn't anyone else there except us and one other guy sitting alone at a table.

So this woman went up to him and mumbled something...then she comes up to us and says "Do you have any spare change you could give me?"
Hubby said "No, sorry". This was really odd because this town isn't very big, so we don't have homeless people here or ever see people begging for money here.
She then went up to the front and asked the man if he would go back and ask the cook if they had any food they could give her for free.
I thought for sure they were going to kick her out, most places would have or called the cops...but he went back and came out with a bowl of rice for her. (which I thought was very nice of them) and she asked if she could sit there and eat it. They said yes.

Of course I started feeling very very sorry for her...and I asked hubby if he could give me a few quarters to give her. He said no...he wasn't giving her any money and that it was probably a scam anyway.

So I dug around in my purse, and all I had for change was a nickle. But I also had six or seven of those Creme Savors candies that are individually wrapped. So over to her table I went with my nickle and a handful of candy, feeling very foolish, but wanting to help nonetheless. I told her it was all I had, and I apologized that it wasn't more. She thanked me and took it. She had a peice of paper in front of her with the weirdest looking writing on it....not english. Just one line.

Then a few minutes later as I was going back through the buffet for seconds...and feeling extremely guilty that I was eating so well and all she had was a bowl of rice....and thinking maybe I should just buy her a meal....she hollered over to me "Are you polish???"
I walked over to her and said, "No...I'm not polish" then she says......."Are you one of those people who likes to put pigs into humans?" This caught me totally off guard, because up till then I had thought she was normal...just very down on her luck, but normal.
I said, "Uh no....I have never heard of that" (what else would you say?) Then she says, "Well there are some people who think pigs should be put into humans instead of into pigs" I said, "Oh my" and walked off. Then she started singing a song very loudly, about a monkey and when she was done, she said "Is he dead yet?"

Hubby thought the whole thing was very amusing, but I thought it was just plain scary and a little sad!!! She obviously needs to be committed and not be wandering around looking for food!!!!

Hubby made some wisecrack about how she probably had a demon in her and I just gave candy to a demon....and how now it was probably going to steal my soul. I told him MY soul was already spoken for, but if I was HIM I'd be a little scared!

I said a prayer for her on the way home...but I can't stop thinking about it...I feel so bad for her....
post #2 of 16
Wow, Debby what an experience. I have never really experienced anything like that before. I have given money and food to homeless people before but I have never had someone act like that. It is really sad. Is there any kind of place where she could seek medical treatment or any help what so ever. I think that she could really use it. Although she was completely out of it, you can't help but feel sorry for her. I would have done the same.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just keep wondering where she is at tonight and where she is sleeping. Maybe I should have done more, I don't know....but hubby kept telling me to just stay away from her.
post #4 of 16
That is sad Debby. Since a lot of mental institutions were shut down, the mentally ill are walking the street with no help in sight.
post #5 of 16
Ooh how weird. Unfortunately as a waitress I could add several stories this made me think of, but I'll just be brief and say I've dealt with crazies, from the sweet yet spooky to the violent ones the police come and bring their dogs out to chase, and we've given food for free at times, one guy was even mad about what we gave him! For free!
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
We don't even have a mental institution anywhere near here, the nearest would be at Clarinda, and I have no idea where she came from...I am wondering if she hitchhiked from somewhere. She looked foreign, like maybe she was from India or somewhere, kind of dark complected...grey hair. Maybe she was a gypsy? I have heard they are still around and that alot of them wander around looking for people to help them....I don't know...I just wish I had done more. I should have bought her a meal....but hubby would have thrown a fit!
post #7 of 16
Poor woman.

Debby, I think you did as much as you could, without bringing her home and moving her into your spare room.

Many years ago in the UK, they closed all the big institutions for people with on-going mental health problems and started "care in the community", with smaller residential units or people homed in isolation. This has proved successful in some ways but not in others. I used to work in a pub that had a small residential unit opposite which was trying to teach people with mental health issues how to live more independant lives. The "regulars" from the unit were accepted into the pub community - playing pool, darts, kareoke etc with everyone else. I think this unit was one of the better ones.

However, with my voluntary work, you get to know the ones who live in isolation, as they come to the office. They have been let down by the "system" and the lack of resources to care for them. It is sad to see and our organisation can only offer to listen to them, not to offer any advice or practical help.

It shows how much of a caring person you are, Debby, that you are still thinking about what you could have done for her, rather than just dismissing her.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well I would like to think I am a caring person...but I should have bought her a meal instead of giving her a nickle and some candy...how caring is that....here, have this nickle while I go back through the buffet for the second time.
post #9 of 16
Debby, It's possible that this woman wandered away from some type of group home or half-way house in your area. Maybe you could contact Social Services to find out if they know who she is.

There is a similiar type of person who wanders the streets of a nearby town asking people if they have a dollar or a spare cigarette. This is a man who destroyed his mind by taking hard drugs while he was in Vietnam. Most people just walk away from him because he is known to sometimes get violent, and if he goes into a store or restaurant he is thrown out. I have also heard that this man is the son of an M.D. and the family does send him money, so he really doesn't need to walk around begging.
post #10 of 16
I know how you feel, Debby. I can't stand to let people like that walk away with nothing. Fortunately, my s/o is the same way. There was a girl in a town where we lived that always had a "will work for food" sign and stood by the side of a busy highway. We were going to the grocery store to stock up for a bad storm that was approaching, and out of the blue, he says, "if she is still here when we come out, we are renting her a room for the night. No one should have to sleep out in this." I fell in love all over again. She was gone when we came out, but we did find out that someone had taken her to a shelter. You never know how blessed you are until you see someone like that, with nothing.
post #11 of 16
You never know but that kind gesture you did Debby may have helped more than you'll ever know.

I was once walking through a local graveyard, this guy came up to me(he was known in the area as mentally ill, talked to himself etc). He asked me why he couldn't get any peace. I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled and said '...maybe you should forgive yourself first'. And I walked off.

A few months later I saw him again, he looked so well! He wasn't talking to himself and apparently he's got himself a job. I doubt it was me who helped, but you never know.

Don't let it worry you Debs, alot of these people are very ill and don't even know what they are doing. She may have read in a paper where scientists are breeding pigs with human organs to us as transplants and got confused.
post #12 of 16
G'day Debbie

It'a always a bit disconcerting when you have an experience like that. Try not to feel guilty for not being able to give her more and you being able to eat well. I'm not saying that lady was like this but many people who are homeless and/or mentally ill are offered a home and a warm bed but, for whatever reason, choose to stay on the streets. Know that she received a good meal and a little dessert from you and that you and hubby did the right thing. I have a theory that people who are mentally ill often have an acute awareness of society around them so, when the lady was talking about putting pigs in people, my guess was that she was talking about using pigs organs (and possibly monkeys) in humans, for example, when they use pig's heart valves to fix human hearts. Just a guess, I could be wrong.
post #13 of 16
Debby - you did what you could. My heart always aches for those in need - crazy or not. Because we spend a lot of time in NYC, we see a lot of it. Homeless, crazy, both - and those begging for money for drugs. It is usually hard to tell whether they actually want the money for food or whether they'll just spend it on drugs. I stopped worrying about it a long time ago. Fortunately, hubby sees this type of thing the same as I do, and we always come up with at least some spare change for all of them. For those that are washing windows, selling pens or newspapers, we come up with bills.

But it is heartbreaking, and you can't help them all. It was very kind of the restaurant to provide her with some food. It is such a shame that we live in such a wealthy country, and yet we've shut down so many institutions. That is what is needed. So many churches and religious organizations do what they can, but there are just so many needy.

I will share a quick story (yeah, right - Laurie be quick. LOL!) I grew up in wealthy suburbs of Chicago, and I'd never encountered a homeless person before. For my high-school graduation, my parents sent me to visit my brother who lived in NYC for a week (I wanted to visit a college out on Long Island).

I was traipsing around the city with him and his girlfriend (now his wife of 17 years!). I passed "my first" homeless person, who asked "Spare some change?" I was very flustered and embarassed. My brother said "just ignore him." I kept walking. But I felt bad - so I took all the change out of my pocket, ran back to the man, and tossed my change in his cup. I don't know why I was so embarrased, but I was. I immediately turned around and ran to catch back up with my brother. The guy yelled after me all mad - "Hey! That was my coffee!" I was so ashamed!!!

The most important thing, I decided after that, was just to treat them like regular people - because they are. I don't need to be ashamed of all I have - I need to be thankful. I don't need to be ashamed of what they don't have - I need to be compassionate. I never ran away from a homeless person again, and I always just hand them the money, unless they have an OBVIOUS cup or can!
post #14 of 16
When I was @ my last job, hubby used to come get me @ my lunchtime (midnight) and we'd go to Wendy's and sit in the parking lot. Well, this was NOT in a great area; it had homeless people all over. This guy on a bike came up to us (he had a sling on his arm) & said he needed some extra money to fill his prescription, so hubby chanced it & gave him $5.00
My new job is in Phoenix, and is in an ok area, but I've gotten stopped twice.. one at a McDonald's askinme me for extra money, and another homeless woman. I didnt give the woman some money because she freaked me out by standing at my driver's side door window. I was getting ready to back out and saw her.
post #15 of 16
Life is full of many people, all types and situations. You did the best you could. Yes, she is probably suffering with some form of mentel illness. But it is her reality.

No one realy knows what to do or say to a indivigial in that situation. Some are homeless by choise,and some are forced into it by mental illness, loss of job, low self esteem. 80 % of woman who are homeless is caused by abuse. It be spousel, or elder abuse.

You treated her with respect. Not mocking her or name calling. When we belittle anyone less fortunate we are belittling mankind. You are my hero. For you looked deeply beyound her surface and saw a human being. Even when she said somthing that caught you off guard you did not faulter.

No parent when their child is born wishes for them to be mentaly challenged. You wouldnt wish it on your parents, sibling or a child. But life can't always help to stop it. And humans are not perfect. It may be so very real that I dont know that I need medication or I am hurting myself.

We all need to be kind to each other. It dosnt mean it should cost money. It can be with respect. A kind gesture, a smile. To ignore is to say...You don't exist! When I worked in the homeless population. I saw Nasa scienetists, doctors, janitors, CEOs, wives, generational homeless. Soverign, native americans, you name it there out there. But bottem line is that they had blood just like me running through their veins.

I am afraid we the people of te USA on this board may see many more folks in this situation.As the unemployment rate is rising, and welfare/SSI is being phased out more and more.

By the grace of God go I........

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
I do feel a little better about it now, and I am praying for her.

OMG Laurie...you threw the money in his coffee? :laughing: Well at least you were trying to help!
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