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I saw a man sitting on a bench today. I was walking in to a lunch spot I frequent. The place where I get the quarts of chicken and rice soup. The same soup that I once spilled in the rain when the brown paper bag gave out on my way back to the office. Today is beautiful, though. Not what you’d expect for late October. This man was sitting across from the entrance and I made eye contact with him as I veered for the door.

“Can you spare any change?”

He said it so softly that I asked him to repeat himself. I had a hunch I knew what he was looking for, though.

We shared a brief exchange and I went in to get my soup.

I had a few minutes to wait so I watched him from inside as people walked by on their lunch breaks. Most people avoided eye contact. They’d see him from a distance and begin to look the other way as they passed. Some folks kept their gaze forward and ignored him. Others just gave him a “no.”

I thought, “Once I get my soup, I’m going to sit down with him and talk.” Then my phone buzzed to let me know my order was ready. By the time I got back outside he was gone.


A little more about Erik Eustice...