As I write today’s story, I can’t help but think of my favorite quote from The Great Gatsby, “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”” This is the advice Nick Carraway’s father supplied him with, and some advice our children should be given to at a young age. Today’s story of Richie has truly made me think about how blessed I am without realization of the advantages I have. Richie inspired me to be grateful and to make the most of what I have. He does this on a daily basis and although he is currently down on his luck struggling for survival on the streets, he finds comfort in the journey.
Richie is a Los Angeles native who has recently moved to the Las Vegas valley in search of work. The over-populated streets of Los Angeles left him out of a job for a long period of time. Down on his luck, he figured a fresh start is just what he needed. Sadly, the work he longed for didn’t come in time and he was forced on the streets. With no friends or family for hundreds of miles, Richie was alone in the world, begging for survival until he can find a steady job. When most of us would be giving up begging for someone to save the day, Richie stands tall and works tirelessly to find work. When asked about what the community can do to help the homeless population, he answered in saying, “keeping it cool and easy with us, we are people too.” This is what Can You Spare A Story is all about, introducing readers to individuals just like him who all have a story worth hearing. Homelessness doesn’t define a person, homelessness is just one chapter in a life long book. Richie is his own person with personality and feelings. I hope next time you walk by a member of the homeless community you see a person and not what’s holding them back.
The negative stigma attached to homelessness has created a completely wrong mental image of the homeless population. Our assumptions of individuals keep us from meeting some of the most influential people. Richie says that the best way to stay safe on the streets is to be friendly and accepting but know how to stay out of trouble. I personally believe that that is the best way to stay safe anywhere. If we don’t accept people, how can we expect people to accept us with all of our flaws. Richie plays by the golden rule, “Treat others how you want to be treated,” I admire him for this and I am so grateful that he let me into his world. Richie, if you are reading this, just know that I completely and whole heartedly believe that you will do big things.. keep on spreading the positvity.