Connie.

So this weekend I’m down in Pasadena.  I drove down this afternoon and found some parking near my destination. I locked my Infiniti and grabbed my purse full of money and belongings.  I began my walk to the Barristar Hair Show at the Pasadena Convention Center.  As I walked up the side walk I noticed the beautiful buildings and perfectly trimmed plants.  Pasadena is total eye candy.  As I turned the corner, I saw an old man in a wheelchair.  He stopped me and I introduced myself.  I asked him his name.  His name is Connie.  He asked me to buy him some beer, which he had the money for by the way, he just wasn’t allowed in the store.  I responded that I was not 21.  I told him “God bless” and walked away.As I crossed the street, he left my head.  I was looking for the show.  I found it, handed them my ticket, and browsed through dozens of vendors selling beautifying products and tools to accomplish just the right look. I found some “all-natural” products that had nasty chemicals in the ingredient list.  I then made my way to the back and watched a makeup demo by TNT.  Nothing about them impressed me.  And I got up feeling gross and empty.  I browsed a few other vendors and picked up a couple free brochures. I was done in twenty minutes. I walked out the door with scented hands and a heavy saturation of a self centered world.

Connie was still out on the sidewalk. I asked him a few questions and we got to talking. I spent over a half hour sitting with him and just listening to his story.  He seemed perfectly sane, so I believe most of this information to be true.  He was a race car mechanic.  He said he used to build performance cars from the ground up.  He had a wife, a Playboy model at that, who left him for his best friend. His two kids moved to Pennsylvania. He lives on $942 a month from SSI.  He said he’d give anything to work again, but his injury makes that impossible.  Here it gets a little sketchy… He said he knew someone in the mafia and someone attacked him and that’s why he can’t walk.  I asked him why he needed the beer and he says it dulls the pain.  He then asked me for cigarettes.  I was thankful that I’m underage for the first time ever.  I asked him where he lives and he began giving me directions.  Directions that ended at a bus stop.

What really impressed on me was how many people ignored him, even so much as to turn around a take another route.  One lady walked by with her Juicy Couture purse and her thousand dollar teacup poodle, blasting her iPhone and looking straight ahead, immersed in herself.  Another man dragged his wife on to the upper sidewalk to avoid even walking by him.  I even got a disgusted glare from a young man as he passed.  One guy walked by, called Connie by name, and handed him some granola bars.  Which Connie took and offered to me. After the man walked away, he jeered, “‘Cept I can’t eat them. I ain’t got teeth.”  The sad thing about that man’s efforts is that if he had actually talked, or even looked at Connie, he would have known that.  That was for his satisfaction and reputation alone.  Applesauce came to my mind, by God’s grace, and I asked if he liked it.  His eyes lit up and he said that he did.  I told him I’d bring him some tomorrow.  But, God, being the good God that He is, put a grocery store right next door.  I bought him some and brought it back, telling him that I’ll see him tomorrow anyways.

During our conversation, I asked him outright, “Connie, do you know Jesus?” He got really quiet and muffled under his fuzzy mustache that I “shouldn’t start that.” He said he can’t believe something that’s not real and touchable.  I told him one day God would find him.  I have a bible in my car that’s been waiting for him and I’m going to give him something that he can touch tomorrow.

I saw the story of the Good Samaritan played before my eyes. And God gracefully used me as a puppet in the play. Pray for Connie. Pray that his legs would heal and that he would be able to work again one day.  And don’t be one of those self-consumed people who walk by with their ear phones in.

That man and the time we spent together has more worth and value that any hollow beauty show could ever fabricate.

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