Testing For Human Kindness

The homeless of Denver have a story and this is it....

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“We bought 2 beers and 2 double shooters, just to drink to get into detox because we were cold as hell.”

 

How did you end up out here?

Mel: I was in a relationship for 15 years, and I was beat up for awhile. He wasn’t like that all the time you know, but he would hog tie me and broke my ribs once. I had a baby with him and he raised my other 2 kids. I started drinking, and he decided he wanted to mess around with another girl 12 years younger. While I was in treatment, he told me to get all my stuff out of the house because he was foolin’ around with this other girl. This happened a year ago.

What about your kids?

Mel: My daughter just turned 18 my son just turned 17. My father had 3 daughters, and he was one of my best friends. My father was so good to me, I named (my son) after him. Then, I have (my other boy) he’s 11. He’s my baby.

How often do you talk to them?

Mel: I talk to them all the time.

How often do you see them?

Mel: Not always. The boys, it’s been awhile.

Michael, how did you end up on the streets?

Michael: I was in Lansing, and me and my best friend had an apartment, and we were partyers. We got kicked out. I was forced on the streets, I didn’t choose this. I lost my job because it was the end of the season. I was canvasing for a window siding company. I was on the streets just off and on, more on the streets than off.

What about your family?

Michael: They’re in Michigan- I couldn’t live with my mom, she lived with her boyfriend, and my dad, for lack of better word is a d-bag, and I was on the streets and just started drinking heavily. I was in a relationship for 10 years, I had a kid with her, and he just turned 8 in March. I haven’t talked to him in over 2 years. I think about him every day…

Do you plan on ever seeing him again?

Michael: No, I have to go to court. She won’t answer any facebook, phone calls, letters. She just turned me off. She hooked up with a good friend…. She married him and had a kid with him.

 

How long have you been a couple now?

Michael: 11 months

What’s the greatest challenge being a couple on the streets?

Michael: Well, she’s obviously pretty- and dudes hit on her all the time. Then when she leaves, I end up fighting somebody because people talk sh*t and I get in fights.

What does the future look like for the two of you?

Michael: Life. (Laughs) We’re trying to get pregnant.

Mel: We want to get married!

What do you think that will look like?

Michael: Well, it will clear us up- she will stop smoking.

Mel: With my last (child) I stopped smoking, I didn’t drink or anything…

 

What are your dreams for the future, where do you want to be in 5 years?

Mel: In a home, working, with my kids spending the night with me…

Where do you want to be working?

Mel: I’m a baker, I used to make cupcakes, wedding cakes….but you know what, a job is a job, as long as it’s not an office job, I’ll be fine..

 

What do you need to get there?

Mel: To get sober again.

What do you need to get sober out here?

Mel: You wake up shaking and you just need that drink. It’s hard. You can’t take a shower out here, you don’t have great clothes, if you can’t look presentable to go to an interview, why would they hire you?

Micahel: There’s a treatment over in detox, like a rehab type place. I went to detox because I wanted to. We bought 2 beers and 2 double shooters, just to drink just to get into detox because we were cold as hell. I decided to go to treatment while I was in              detox, that’s where I met this fine lady right here.

Why do you have to drink to go to detox? Why not go to a shelter?

Michael: Well, the shelters are like a cesspool.

What do you need to get off the streets and to get into that house?

Michael, Mel: To stop drinking.

Is it just a cycle?

Mel: Yeah, it’s like I wake up in the morning and have the shakes, and I just need that drink, then when you get that first drink, you’re not going to stop…

Michael: It’s the only thing to do when you’re a hobo. We don’t’ do drugs…. It’s just the drink.

What does the alcohol do- is there more to it than just taking the shakes away?

Michael: It’s just looking to the bottom of the bottle, just trying to find peace in a dumba** way. We just drink a couple of beers a day. Then you hit that cycle. And you just can’t stop. Shoot today, we’ll probably go fly a sign to make more booze money. It sucks, But …. It’s hard, man. We get what we need. We try to get a wake-up- to get a beer or two to get the shakes down from when we wake up. We’re trying to just maintain.

 

What helps keep you sober?

Michael: Work. Being productive. When you’re out on the streets, your inhibitions just go to the wind.

Why don’t you go to detox or another treatment program?

Mel: Not being with each other.

Michael: The programs- well, (there is) one we would go back to. We’ve talked about it. They make you save 60% of your money. You have a month to find a job. But, the people you have to deal with- it is horrible.

“We don’t ask for money, we just say, ‘Good morning’ all day long. As long as they acknowledge me, you know what I mean? Don’t walk by me and be a snob.” 

 

What’s your best day?

Michael: High fives! Having people be true…. Don’t have to be true to me, just true.

Mel: Being acknowledged. I hate when people, you know, I say, “Good morning,” and not asking for nothing, just to say good morning back to me. Like the other day, I wave at this guy, and he says, “Don’t wave at me, you don’t know me.” And he comes back and kicks my sign.

Michael: He’s like, “You’re a homeless drunk, I talk to people with money,” and kicked the sign.

What did you do, how did you respond?

Mel: Nothing, I mean, we just let it go…

 

Out here, why don’t you give up? What keeps you going?

Michael: Friendship, faith and confidence…That’s what keeps me going…

What do you have faith in?

Mel: I have faith in the Lord.

Michael: Truthfulness, honesty, virtue- morals, ethics….

 

What’s your greatest regret?

Mel: Being a drunk…

What’s the greatest highlight?

Mel: My children

What did you want to be as a kid?

Mel: a doctor

Michael: a surgeon

 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Mel: Anywhere with him.

Michael: Tahiti, no… Either that or France. Ireland- I’m pickin Ireland!

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Michael: I would give it to St Judes, for all they do for kids with cancer.

 

If you could give the world one piece of advice, what would it be?

Michael: Peace, love and happiness…

Mel: Be kind. We are all out here for a reason. Don’t steal from me. I’m not going to steal from you. If we don’t look after each other, who is?

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Fell in love with Jesus seven years ago and enjoying the journey. My heart is to bring transformation to the city of Denver through reaching the forgotten population of homeless. The greatest gift i've ever been able to give a person on the streets is my time...

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