Jeff

Over the past 18 months, coincidentally or not round about since I have been married, I’ve found substantially more contentment, and peace. I’ve started to take care of my mental health and noticed I have become increasingly empathetic of others.

Although it’s a drop in the ocean compared to those that dedicate their life to others, I’ve got involved with charity more and tried where possible to help those they really need it. Whether it is advice, an ear to listen or just a smile and acceptance.

homeless-man

Source: Photo from http://www.thisblewmymind.com

Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things and will work hard enough for stability, something I did not have growing up, but these things are so hollow at times I have to dampen my frustration at watching people chase them.

So when I noticed a homeless guy one day hovering around our work recycling bins under our sheltered work car park I glanced and felt a pang of guilt or sadness. The feeling I usually get when I see someone that is struggling.

A week or so later after an early training session next to an oval alongside our work building our trainer mentioned he had not seen the homeless guy that usually slept under the sheltered, oval changing rooms complex.

A training partner that worked in the same building as us said he has since moved into our car park. As we opened the back security door into our building the lad pointed at the paper stuck to the outside of it. It was a quiz question about a celebrity or music-related trivia.

Apparently every couple of weeks Jeff would put a new question on the door and the staff in the building would write their answers on the sheet when they came to work.

The following Monday I walked into the office at 7:30am. The car park was empty but I glanced into the corner past the recycling bins and saw a sleeping bag. Jeff was cocooned in it. It was freezing, or as close as Sydney can get with some of it’s coldest mornings for thirty years.

As soon as I got to our office I felt guilty turning the heating on. Immediately I made a reminder on my phone to bring this guy something that might help him temporarily. I also wanted to talk to him.

When I got home I packed a bag of my old clothes, including a Wallabies scarf. I then thought about food. So I chucked in some fruit that may have gone in the bin if we had not eaten it that week.

I did it with the best intentions for his health but I was not sure if Jeff would have wanted something more exciting or take offence to my healthy suggestion.

I took my chance at lunchtime and left the building via the car park exit. As I walked over I could see the bins and some covered crates but no sign off Jeff. As I got closer I realised he was tucked just out of view, still wrapped up in his sleeping bag.

I definitely did not want to wake him so left the bag and note as close as I could to him without disturbing him. I heard a slight murmur so left promptly and went off to get my lunch.

Two weeks later I was walking past the oval and saw Jeff wondering around the perimeter. His face as puffy as ever with his hood over his head. I looked down and realised he was wearing the almost new, black pair of tracksuit bottoms I had put in a bag for him.

That tiny moment gave me a bloody good feeling that he found use for something practical. I was even happier (and relieved) that I had originally bought them extremely baggy (much to my wife’s disgust), as Jeff is a bigger bloke than me.

Sleeping in a freezing cold, open garage must also take its toll. When the sun has been out, which thankfully has been a lot since summer, Jeff takes his sleeping bag across to a small park.

He lies on the picnic benches in the open and sleeps most of the day completely enclosed by his sleeping bag, like a big blue worm.

Occasionally I see him with a coffee and some bread, reading a paper on the same benches. I’ve said “Good morning” and he has acknowledged me but just with a grunt. I’ll give it some more time before I have a proper chat with him.

The truth is it’s great to get involved to “raise awareness” for big charities and big support networks and the work they do. It’s essential to keep them running.

But the small acts of helping one person in need, and not necessarily monetary, is instant. Instant feeling of satisfaction for you and instant relief and belonging to the person you have helped.

I’ve since talked to mates about it in the pub and was relieved to hear others doing their bit. One mate’s mum is heavily involved in the well-known Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s Kings-Cross and his sister volunteers in Bogabilla in remote NSW (I’ve just got involved in an organisation that focuses heavily on Indigenous communities, but that’s another blog…).

So when you are next walking outside on a sunny Sydney Winter’s day, stop for a second. Realise how unimportant those things you can covet are. Open your eyes and look past your iPhone. A simple act that will cost you nothing might give some hope to someone else.

Everyone has a story; you just don’t know it yet.

So when you are next walking outside on a sunny Sydney Winter’s day, stop for a second. Realise how unimportant those things you can covet are. Open your eyes and look past your iPhone. A simple act that will cost you nothing might give some hope to someone else.

Everyone has a story; you just don’t know it yet.

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2 thoughts on “Jeff

  1. Baby Blur | says:

    […] 7 March we discovered at work the homeless guy Jeff that lived in the car park had passed away (you can read my 2015 blog called Jeff here). Some of the guys in the office had a real soft spot for him. Thankfully his children were tracked […]

    Like

  2. […] 7 March we discovered at work the homeless guy Jeff that lived in the car park had passed away (you can read my 2015 blog called Jeff here). Some of the guys in the office had a real soft spot for him. Thankfully his children were tracked […]

    Like

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