I walked around town today looking for Rita.
Rita is a woman I met on Friday who spends her days sitting in front of the post office. She spends her nights at a shelter but by day she must find a place to go. After introducing myself and telling her about my site and goals, she opened up and told me she wished she could have a place to stay during the day since she's forced to leave the shelter. She also told me she spent time in prison, lived a hard life and now spends her days worried about getting money. A lot of people passed by Rita while I was sitting there and gave her some money, but there were also a few that told her to get a job. I found out from some people walking by that she spends the money at the liquor door down the street. Why would they give her money if she is just going to go spend it at the liquor store? A fair point. I didn’t have my wallet on me that day and told her I’d be back Monday to visit and help her. I reminded her that I’m working on changing the world and she seemed to like that. She reemphasized how badly she needs help now, since my idea seemed longer term. I knew I had to stay true to my word and visit her today.
When I got to the post office I did not see Rita. I went inside to ask the workers if they had seen her out front. The gentlemen working behind the counter didn't know where she was unfortunately. We did however have a quick chat about the shirt I decided to wear that day. Four portraits of the great renaissance minds Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael were illustrated on my shirt with colored bandannas highlighted over their eyes to represent the Ninja Turtles. I had actually thought long and hard that day about what shirt to wear and picked one I hadn’t worn in months. It was pretty cool coincidence that the first person I interacted with that day understood the somewhat hidden meaning behind my nerdy shirt. It was at this moment that I felt a very strong connection to the universe. I asked him if he believed in coincidence and he acknowledged that sometimes we experience things in our lives that feel like they were meant to be. I think he could feel a connection as well. I gave him my link to my website and he said he’d check it out. It was an awesome start to my day, but I still had greater matters to attend to.
I had a backpack full of gifts for Rita and she was no where to be found. I was a little worried that maybe something was wrong with her. “What if she got hurt or sick over the weekend?” I thought. I looked up the nearby shelters on the advice of a friend and walked to one of the closer ones. No luck, she wasn't there. They gave me a number to try calling and at first the person on the phone told me they couldn't give me any information. I told them I was concerned about the well being of someone who spends their nights in a nearby shelter and gave them Rita’s name. He said he’d check the shelters to see if she was there and okay. I hoped that really would.
At this point I hadn’t given up hope so I began walking back towards the post office. I had a feeling she might be there and sure enough she was. As I approached the post office I yelled her name, “Rita!!!” She looked over and gave me an “oh no, not this guy” look. I sat down next to where she was and asked if she remembered me from Friday and what we talked about. “Of course I do, Kay,” she said, already giving me a cool nickname. It was like we were friends already.  I gave her the gifts I had brought which included a package of Oreos, $5, a picture of me, my mom, and my girlfriend, a friendship rock with a note to go with it and one of the cardboard signs I walked around town with Friday. On the back of the sign was a personalized note to Rita explaining my desire to spread positivity through the world. I told her I could be her friend if she wanted and she could hold the sign if she wanted to help make a difference. I told her about the Patreon link where people can donate and I can use the money to get people like her help. Rita seemed happy and it felt good to see her that way.
Talking with her started to make me realize how good some of us have it. We are all dealt a hand of cards and must make the best of whatever is thrown our way. Some of us will stressful lives and our choices will lead to negative outcomes like Rita’s. People just want to feel loved and like they belong.
Rita was so broken mentally and just needed a friend.
More to come.
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