Today’s story is of a warm-hearted, always smiling, country-boy named Tony Homes. This small town boy from Arkansas came from his small town of 2,000 people to Las Vegas, a city of roughly 624,000 people. Feeling stuck working as a painter and handyman, Tony left for Las Vegas with 10 dollars to his name and a whole lot of hope. Since landing in Las Vegas, he has met his right-hand man and best friend Rick (who is really shy and didn’t want to share his story). He says they complete each other. Tony is very out-going and ready for fun while Rick is extremely quiet and rational. Together they make the perfect team! They have spent the last 5 months making their way around the valley, living on the streets and taking in all Sin City has to offer.
The craziest part of it all is that Tony is loving every second of his life on the streets. When many of us would crack under pressure, he is making the most of what life has to offer. With an ear-to-ear smile on his face, he explains to me that in life you just have to love people and love life because you can’t when you’re six feet under. He does everything in his power to make every day the best it can be and I think this is something each of us should incorporate into our daily routines. When I asked him what the hardest part of living on the streets was, he replied by saying, “Life can try to bring me down, but she can’t beat me.” He says, “everything on the streets is a little harder, but it isn’t impossible… Getting a shower and feeling clean is the roughest part.”
Tony has made many friends on the streets and has become a part of the community. He doesn’t have any blood-related family after his two daughters passed away and he lost his mother, who he wasn’t close to. He makes friends with those around him and makes everyone feel safe and welcome in his presence. Tony was not my normal story, he was very interested in me and hearing why I want to do what I want to do with Can You Spare a Story. He listened attentively and seemed to really care about the cause of ending the stigma against the homeless. Tony reminded me why I can’t give up on this goal, but little did he know, he is the real reason why I do what I do.
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