Squeegee with a Smile

By Amee Bohrer

Originally posted by facebook Note on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007 at 11:59 p.m.

I saw something surprising– and a little heartbreaking– yesterday. I was working in Oak Lawn, driving North on Cicero toward the 55 South exit to get home.

I saw a homeless man, wandering the traffic island. He was soliciting tips for wiping off drivers’ windshields with a squeegee. He kept the “washing fluid” in a Mountain Dew bottle. He approached the cars preceding me– and one out of two obliged him.

He was a hard worker. He didn’t just half-ass it. He genuinely tried to earn his wages. He methodically cleaned the icy windshields, and I could tell he felt pride in doing it.

Usually, I would just avoid eye contact when he passed by my car. But he was an honest man, and I smiled at him but put up my hands, signifying that I didn’t have any money. He mistook that as a green light, and I had to make my gesture bigger and shake my head to communicate that, NO, I couldn’t help.

And I felt SAD. Because I really didn’t have any cash. And much as that man deserved some help, I’m just NOT so charitable that I’m going to hand over my ATM card.

I exptected him to glare at me, and skulk away. Maybe give me the finger.

But he did the most unexpected thing. He SMILED. A beautiful, giving smile. He forgave me– he genuinely was not bitter towards me.

I was flabbergasted… and humbled. A homeless man forgave me, instantly, for not accepting the services he offered. We looked eachother in the eye. And not because he likes ME– we never spoke. Because he’s just a wonderful human who has that kind of love in his heart.

I don’t know what his circumstances are, but he will be in my prayers during the cold holiday season. I hope tonight he was some decent shelter where he can stay warm.

Advent just began this past Sunday… and I think this year what I want to concentrate on is cultivating the spirit of forgiveness and love for humanity that was displayed to me so randomly and naturally yesterday. A man with nothing harbored no resentment toward a woman warm and safe in a working car, who had a home to go to and some place to go.

I hope that man finds some place to go and food to nourish his strength. Amen.


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