Academic Probation
Katy Anderson/the Gauntlet

Homeless people warm my heart

To eat or not to eat, that's not a question

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An adventurer, gatherer, fighter and overall powerful individual perfectly describes a man that many don't know about. The legacy of a man we will just call Bob for now, shall live on for decades to come, enriching our understanding of how we accept people in our world. Whether he greeted you with a handshake, funny joke or just a smile, Bob's presence has been felt by a few and should be known by many.

It was a chilly early morning, walking down the brick padded streets. Colder than most winter days that season, I clenched my fists within my gloves in hopes of warmth and comfort. Still quite early in the morning, there were very few people out and about. Then, like a whispering cackle in the forest, a voice arose over the hustle and bustle of the streets. The man echoed a sound of sophistication like nothing I had ever heard, spouting stock hints for passer bys. Little did I know at the time that what kind of influence this individual would have on me over the next few years.

At this point in my life I had asserted myself into an extremely successful position. Spearheading one of the cities most prolific and respected law firms and doing so before my 25th birthday, my dreams had been fulfilled. I had everything I could ever want; I drove a limited edition Lamborghini, watched my big screen television in the entertainment room of my prize winning home and could afford anything my heart desired. From what I could see, I had everything I needed. Then one day I came across the man they called Bob and all this changed.

That particular day when I was introduced to Bob, my Land Rover was in the shop and I used transit. I must get something clear, I did not feel I was above using transit because of the money I made, or the job I had, being rich doesn't always make you a righteous prick.

Regardless of this, I was within a hundred feet of my office tower when, as I mentioned earlier, I heard this boisterous and energetic voice of a homeless man on the street. In appearance Bob was not all that different from other homeless people. His uncut hair, dirty and matted ran over his shoulders. He wore a jacket that was cut and torn in the elbows and tied with loose linen in the chest. And on top of this he held, I kid you not, a stick and gunny sack. As I mentioned before, he was not unlike other homeless people, except for one distinct item. It's almost unexplainable in words but Bob presented himself in a way very few working class people even did; his proud presence was that of a man who looked as if he was worth a million dollars and could not be happier about his life.

In the past I would have simply pushed aside a homeless man because I, like many people, was tired of giving and giving. I worked hard to get where I was, they could just as easily do something to make a change in their lives, right? It sounded better the first time I said it some three years ago.

I am still not quite sure why I stopped that day but I am extremely lucky for doing so. It was only 6:30 in the morning but on that cold winter day, within 10 minutes of light hearted discussion I was in tears laughing so hard. Within 10 minutes he had convinced me to invest in a company called Bandoozlers Inc., regaled me with protest stories of Vietnam during the '60s and even the benefits of a successful bottle recycling program. Although these stories may not sound interesting, Bob described them with the excitement and energy of an epic big screen film.

It is funny, that first day I met Bob was the first day I had used transit and accessed my work via the downtown atmosphere. Well, last September was the two-year mark for me using this route on my way to work and within these two years, Bob had made an effort to offer me something new every morning while I walked from Bourbon to Ray street. Some mornings he was a little less talkative because of a late night out with the boys or midnight bottle excursions. Whatever it was, Bob found a way to stop and say hi. Some days I brought him food and other days money, but not once in all those morning meetings did he ever request or expect these offerings and was grateful for anything I offered him.

Well it was another cold winter morning a few months ago that I was walking to work and for the first time in two years Bob did not show up. A few days passed and still nothing. I found out later that week Bob was discovered early one morning and had suffered a heart attack. His name was Robert Drummond and although he had nothing, he acted and carried himself as if he was the luckiest person in the world. What Bob did for me was show me that life is what you make it and we really need to appreciate all that we have. I may be worth lots of money and I may drive expensive vehicles but Robert 'Bob' Drummond will always be one of the richest individuals I knew.

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