As I awoke at 5 a.m., the sounds of the city were bright and loud! The traffic was rolling across the viaduct steadily, the air was frigid and cloudy, a few joggers and bike riders were on their morning routines, and a brunette lady was walking her poodle, with her poop bag ready in her hand.
A homeless man walked by and said, "Morning"; another just scowled at me.
I just smiled and rolled up my sleeping bag, grabbed my diver's bag, and readied myself for another day of selling my paper.
To folks coming off the ferry and going about their business day, I'm always polite, saying "Good morning, hello, have a nice day," with a smile on my face and a cup of coffee and papers in my hand as I stand in that lonely old tunnel. Some folks say, "Hi, hello, no thanks," but once in awhile, a person will buy a paper from me. With a smile I hand them a paper, and they hand me one or two dollars and a nice smile and a "Have a good day."
One young gentleman handed me a pillow and asked if I was "homeless." I said with a frown, "Yes, I am." He said, "We found this on the ferry--would you like to have it?" I said, "Yes, I would. Thank you very much," but deep inside I hurt with embarrassment and loss of pride.
I have met a lot of homeless people who are down to mother earth and hold their heads up high--I wish I were one. But I hurt with shattered shoulder and popped kneecap and now, walking pneumonia. But I keep on being the man in the tunnel with the smile and a friendly, kind disposition. So if you see a stranger, it is probably me, for my names is James, and I am the man in the tunnel. So if by chance you see me, have a smile, or nice "Good morning or afternoon."
God bless you. Thank you. Be kind to everyone.