A young girl refused to believe that the old man she’d found unconscious in the snow was a homeless old drunk.
The strings that hold us to our place in the world are fragile and easily broken. One tug and we spin free, we fall, and we become strangers even to ourselves. That is what happened to Jeremy Ross, 78.
Jeremy Ross had reached a time in his life when he slept little. His health issues tormented him with twinges of pain, and his only remaining pleasure was his long walks. One day, he didn’t come back, and no one knew where he was.
The man was found unconscious in the snow at a local park | Source: Shutterstock.com
That afternoon, Jeremy had a doctor’s appointment at the hospital with his rheumatologist, all the away across town from his apartment, and afterward, he took one of his long walks.
There was a park nearby, and Jeremy bought a small packet of corn to feed the pigeons that were scratching through the snow, searching for something to eat. He sat on a park bench and scattered the grains on the ground.
He chuckled to himself as the pigeons milled around his feet, their wings whirring as they fought over the corn. Then the light grew so bright, and the sounds so loud, and Jeremy felt himself falling, and it all faded into that pristine white snow.
There was nothing Jeremy loved more than feeding the pigeons | Source: Unsplash
As Jeremy laid unconscious in the snow, birdseed scattered around him, people hurried by and quickly looked away. An old man lying in the snow was something they’d rather not get involved with.
Later a group of teens walked by and saw him there, sprawled helplessly on the ground. They walked over and one of them poked him with a disdainful foot. Then a boy crouched down near Jeremy, but not to check on his well-being.
The boy ran rough hands through Jeremy’s pockets and quickly took out his wallet and his cell phone. He looked at the device with disdain. “This piece of trash belongs in a museum!” he cried, then he threw it on the ground and ground his foot onto it.
Be kind and charitable to those in need and life will reward you.
Jeremy fell and was quickly covered by a blanket of snow | Source: Unsplash
The third boy was fingering Jeremy’s long overcoat. “Hey, this coat is pretty cool for an old geezer! Help me get it off him!” With his buddies’ help, he tore the coat off Jeremy and rolled him out into the snow. For good measure, they took his shoes too.
Fortunately, shortly after, a girl called Lucy Pentos, came along walking her dog, but a thick blanket of snow had already covered Jeremy. If Lucy’s pug hadn’t alerted her, she would have passed him by.
Lucy called 911, and Jeremy was taken to the local hospital. Apart from the beginnings of hypothermia, the doctors quickly realized that Jeremy had had a stroke. Nobody knew who he was, there was no ID on him, and no clues to his identity — and Jeremy didn’t even remember his own name.
Some teens found Jeremy and stole his wallet and his coat | Source: Unsplash
“Look,” one of the doctors said to Lucy. “He’s probably homeless. All we found on him was a Metro card, not a cent, or a housekey…Nothing!”
Lucy asked the doctor for the Metro card. She had seen Jeremy’s white face, wiped the snow from his cheeks. He might be wallet-less and coatless, but he had been close-shaved and his hair neatly cut.
Lucy took the card to the Metro administration, explained Jeremy’s story, and asked if they could tell where his last journey had begun. With the doctor’s permission, Lucy took a photo of Jeremy and set off to find out who he was.
Fortunately for Jeremy, Lucy found him while walking her dog | Source: Unsplash
Lucy knew that his home would have to be within walking distance of the subway, so she started from there. Just 100 meters away was a small grocery store, and she walked and showed the man Jeremy’s photo.
The man looked at the photo and exclaimed: “That’s Jeremy! Jeremy Ross, he’s been our client for over 40 years! What’s happened to him?”
“I found him in the park, across town, with no ID, no coat, and no shoes…They said he was homeless but I didn’t believe it!” Lucy said.
“He’s not homeless!” cried the grocer. “He has his own apartment and a nice one too! I’m coming with you to identify him!”
The man from the corner store recognized Jeremy immediately | Source: Unsplash
At first, Jeremy was very confused and hardly knew who he was or where he was, but as time went on, he slowly recovered. All his friends from the neighborhood came to visit, but his most frequent visitor was Lucy.
After Jeremy was discharged from the hospital, Lucy continued visiting him. For many years, they were the best of friends, until one day Jeremy sadly passed away at the ripe old age of 87.
To Lucy’s surprise, he left her all his money and his apartment — an astonishing legacy from the man everyone had thought was homeless.
Lucy and Jeremy became the best of friends | Source: Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
- Be kind and charitable to those in need and life will reward you. Lucy stopped to help the fallen man whom everyone thought was homeless and ended up making a friend for life.
- Don’t judge people by their appearance, you don’t know what they have been through. Everyone thought Jeremy was homeless because he had been robbed by the nasty boys.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who discovered that his elderly neighbor had been living in her car for years.
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