”If everyone was like you there wouldn’t be any homeless people
… and if everyone was as inspirational as Jerry Lee Ray the world would be much friendlier place.
I have always travelled alone & never had a problem making friends who are friends to this day, but this vacation was so different. On the days I found myself sat by the pool or at Starbucks etc I was as friendly as I have always been where ever I go & tried as always to have banter with everyone I met, I was aware that if I looked hotter on some days people (men mostly) were more inclined to engage in conversation lol but I kept having the same conversation over & over again with almost everyone I met – “what do you do ?” now normally this would be just a normal conversation but lately the answer of ’I'm a personal trainer’ seemed to bring on a repeated uninterested look.
I deliberately say this as I am firstly interested in people reactions to it & I also have a rule that I have done forever which for me (as well as listening to my gut feelings – which never fail me) is totally fool proof and hasn’t let me down yet – the 30 day trial. I believe that in two week it’s a bit like the Big Brother house, everyones just being friendly, loving everything you do, laughing at every joke etc. … by week three the ”real traits” people have start to show through and by week four they have either failed miserably & they are not the people they originally tried to make you believe they were, or they are exactly who they are & they are amazing. I can tell you now, there have been only two people in 5 years that have passed this :/ I swear it works – you can officially know all you need to know about someone intentions, values, efforts, compassion, intentions etc in 30 days … I generally just sit back, and watch. Remember just because they say it – doesn’t make it true. Actions over time prove everything you need to know about a person.
My job answer didn’t seem to keep anyone I spoke to entertained for very long, and honestly that was totally fine by me as I didn’t need a friend like that. I just found it so amusing. I have nothing to prove to anyone in life, I know I am good person & have been raised right & most of all understand how important friends & family are. I am totally proud of my job, if I did anything or nothing I would still be proud of it & would change my answer as to me, that should have no bearing on me or my friendship ?!
This didn’t always happen btw, if by coincidence someone asked if I was on Facebook or Instagram etc. As to not be rude I said yes, & as soon as my page was up on the screen, I got something along the lines of ‘holy shit’ and it was as if I was their best friend. All of a sudden was accepted into their fold. The eyes that were previously glazed over were all of a sudden almost breaking their necks to introduce themselves to me. I mean WTF is that about ?
I’m sure there are people who feel the need to be accepted by someone to feel they have worth, but not me. I didn’t understand this behaviour at all. I have never had friends who were my friends for what I was, did, or had, it was because I was a good person & a loyal true kind friend. If I was jobless tomorrow I know my amazing friends would be there for me and would support me no matter what the outcome for as long as necessary, and I would them. If I was queen tomorrow I would still only value those who I knew were my true friends for the right reasons.
I struggled to find anyone who seemed to have anything in common with me at all, I just wanted to talk to who wanted to have a natter about normal everyday things, not needing to know what I did, who I was, or where I was born etc .. I didn’t require a VIP or to be part of a ‘click’ or aspire to be an actor or actress. I was a working class girl who knew the value of a pound & loved her family & friends above everything. Most importantly I was raised to judge a person on their actions as a person & this continued in the circles I associated in as an adult.
So this is where my holiday became interesting ….
Everyday I passed a homeless man, he had no teeth, tidy-ish, holding the same plastic cup and a sign saying ”homeless, please help, I won’t ask” he looked like a very sweet santa clause. He never asked me for a penny & just like everyone else (I assumed @ the time) who passed him I gave him my spare change when I had it. He just wished me a good day. He had the advantage from the start really, he had my dads kind eyes. it was impossible not to notice his big brown eyes, there are some people who you just know by looking at them what sort of person they are. He melted my heart from day one. ”Have a good day” he would say as I passed him sat perched against the railings.
Common sense & a sensible upbringing told me that it’s not a good idea to be talking to strangers in a strange town, esp when you are on your own.
One day I just stopped, ”whats your name?” I asked him. ”Jerry” he replied. ”I’m Lisa” I said as I shook his hand. He smiled. ”it’s nice to meet you” he said. ”I’ll see you later Jerry, have a good day” I said, and went on my way.
From that moment, I knew I had just made a friend & I couldn’t tell you why as it’s not my intention to go around saying hello to homeless people but I couldn’t stop thinking about him from the day I saw him, on days he wasn’t in his ”spot” I found myself wondering if he was ok & I hoped that he wasn’t hurt etc. & I was so relieved when he turned up the following evening.
One night my way home, I stopped and said hello again, He explained how he had only made $9 and me being the skeptic I am, thought he was pulling my leg lol & trying to get more money out of me lol, as we continued chatting I established that he hadn’t ate so I returned with a burger, fries, and a coffee (cream & sugar) and a soft chocolate brownie for pudding. It had to be soft food as he has no teeth.
Night after night I found myself sat on the cold concrete loving my evenings talking to someone who didn’t know or want anything from me but my friendship & company. I listened to his stories about how he gets food and drink a bit cheaper by travelling a bit further for things. How he goes to the beach a lot as there are more homeless people there and altho he doesn’t make any money there at all, he can talk and have some company, somedays he can go all day without talking to anyone & he admitted that he gets really lonely sometimes. He told me about his past life as a tradesman and stories of the area before the recession hit. The more we sat, the more he opened up, he showed me what was in his bag he shared stories about what he believed in & how he was very careful not to get involved in anything dangerous & he kept himself to himself, he didn’t drink & was very very careful about looking after his body. Polite, funny, charming & clearly educated. No children or illnesses & seemed to just be focused on keeping himself as healthy as possible and making the best of the situation he had found himself in.
Every night I always brought him something warm to eat like a chicken, or burger and of course a coffee to keep him company long after I was back in my hotel. I found out he liked everything from bananas to eggs to pizza & cake. He explained how his mission each week was to make $60 each week. This would get him a one room over night to get a bath a TV etc and have a great nights sleep in a bed. This seemed impossible as I sat with him witnessing people passing not adding any change to his cup :/ – seems what he told me about only making a few dollars a day was true. He sat for 6 hours and made $9 & this had to feed him and pay for his bus fare – nothing made me feel more thankful for my life, simple things from the trainers I had on my feet and the ability to withdraw $20 from a ATM.
Well on saturday night I walked to see jerry as I knew he took sundays off with or without his hotel room. I had my coffee & food prepared for his weekend & he wasn’t there …Part of me was a bit gutted as I had made such an effort to get him a lovely chicken later that day. I wasn’t sure why he, maybe he had left early for the day it was a little chilly today. Sure enough I was just about to go back to the hotel when I turned around to see him running (well maybe not running) up the street with his bag & cup in one hand and sleeping bag in the other shouting my name, I just smiled at him ”where were you” I said ”I thought I was going to miss you” he said looking really happy to see me.
I helped him with his bag as he explained there was a show on down the road and he only needed $30 for his room and he hoped it might just make a difference moving. I walked him back to his new spot for the evening which was right in the centre of a big crowd of people, I stayed for a minute or two at the amazement of our audience that evening. Inside hoping that others may see him as ”a person” who just needed a little help and not just another homeless man and give a bit deeper tonight.
Before I left him sat looking so tiny in a cue of teenagers, I handed him $60 .. he just looked up at me completely gobsmacked. That was a rare moment lol. ”Who needs a pedicure anyway? they are overrated I joked”. I made a comment about him getting a shave, a hot bath & he had a good meal now too. ”see you monday” I said, knowing that sunday night he would be tucked up in a nice hotel room safe and sound hopefully for one week being up on the week ahead for a change.
Monday came around and at 4pm as always, I turned up to a shaven gentleman who I hardly recognized, his nails were spotless, clothes were clean & it was clear that he had made a real effort to show his appreciation for the room & maybe wanted to even impress me a little, as when he saw me he sat a little higher than normal and smiled a little bigger than before. I almost got the impression that he was enjoying having someone who actually genuinely cared & he showed his appreciation by using the money the right way & not taking my kindness for granted & I appreciated that of him as it showed my gut feelings were right from the get-go.
Tonight I sat again watching people pass us both … ”If everyone was like you there wouldn’t be any homeless people …” he said out the blue, looking straight at me.
I just smiled & knew he meant every word. I wished I could do more but knew something was better than nothing.
The people who ask nothing from you & appreciate you for who you are are the people who make the most impact on your life. Call them, e-mail them, text them, remind them just how important they are to you.
I for one am glad I met jerry as he restored my faith in human nature.
Watch this video of Jerry & what one of our very own BodyRockers did for Jerry - Here
Who could be you’re next friend in life’s amazing journey ?
See The Pictures & Videos From My Trip To Los Angeles - Here
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