Last weekend I went on a date– my first date in an extremely long time. There are a few things that will turn me off a person instantly: arrogance and pretentiousness. For instance, if a person is rude to a waiter or bar tender, I am likely to throw down cash for my share of the dinner and walk out. Fortunately, this man was nothing like that.
After eating Yum Cha for the first time (I know, I know, I’m a little behind), we decided to make our way to a bar in the Fortitude Valley. It was there that I met someone who I will never forget. His name is Chris. When Chris first starting speaking to me from across the courtyard outside the Caliber, I assumed that like many other people in the valley dressed in baggy clothes, slurring and talking to complete strangers at whim, with a beer spilling from his hand, that he was either a drunk or a junkie. Shame on me. I couldn’t be more wrong. My date was in the bathroom when I discovered that half of Chris’s body was defective. He spoke with only one side of his mouth, his hand hung aimlessly and he hobbled when he walked.
Chis has Cerebral Palsy.
Chris also mentioned, and by this time my date had returned, that he was homeless. I was horrified! We pay all this tax money each year and there are people with Cerebral Palsy living on the streets? He had a beer on the odd occasion (for company), he didn’t have many friends (if any), and usually spent his time sleeping under bus shelters. I enjoyed talking to him and my date, apparently did too. In fact, he stayed with us the entire night educating us on his condition, and how he came to live on the streets. I asked him if I could do an interview with him to teach people, what he had taught me in only a few hours. That way, perhaps others, like me, might not judge too quickly in future.
Of course Chris would be difficult to contact, being completely homeless, owning nothing more than the clothes on his back and a bag he referred to as his pillow.
My date at this stage quietly mentioned he would be back in five minutes. I didn’t think much of this, assuming he had to take a call outside (maybe even message another date…ha!). Again, I was quite mistaken. My date returned with a brand new phone he had purchased from the Optus store (which was oddly enough, still open). He setup the phone for Chris and handed it to him saying, “Chris, now you can call her.” I gushed. You would think I had just won a new car on the Opera show. I was so impressed.
Chris phoned me numerous times that day, obviously rapped with his new phone and taking complete advantage of having one. I am currently in the process of seeing if there’s anything I can do for him in relation to finding government assistance. I also asked him if he wants to go to the beach one day, and I offered to bring him up to the farm, to which he said with his soft, gentle voice, that he “would really love that.”
My message for the day is: to give what you can and care for those who need it. What might appear to be a junkie on the street, may actually be a disabled person who needs support and shelter. Imagine if that was your child. I guess we would hope that others would reach out too and support them, should we not be fit to help them ourselves. As for the date, we are going on date number two this weekend. I will keep you all posted.