He just stands there with a sign saying that he is a homeless veteran and God Bless You. I’m always hoping for a red light when I pass his intersection so that I can give him money, usually a dollar.
Since I’m always traveling straight north on that highway he has to walk over the lane turning left to get to me. We have to be quick for it to work. I have to yell loudly and he has to make sure he is not hit by a turning car.
Going south on my way back home again there is no chance for me to stop since he is on the other side of the intersection from that direction. By the time I reach his spot the traffic is already moving too quickly.
All summer I saw him standing there in the middle of the hot sun. Sometimes bending over as if he were in pain.
The fall came and he was still there, the weather still hot. Then for several days, weeks, I didn’t see him. I was getting worried that he had died or taken ill. Every time I passed I hoped to see him. When three weeks had gone I decided I wanted to give 20 dollars for all the times I had stopped at red light and he wasn’t there. If I ever saw him again.
I thought: if it was my father I would want someone to do that, no matter why he was standing in the middle of the hot sun begging for money.
Then finally one day he was there again and luckily the light turned red. I called him from across the lane. I took a while because he couldn’t hear me. Then he came over and I gave him the 20 dollars. I explained that it was for every time I had passed and he hadn’t been there.
He smiled and said: you didn’t give me a twenty, you gave me a million. Then he told me that someone had died of acute yeast infection in the body. I seemed like he assumed I knew who it was, maybe he mistook me for someone else?
By then the light had turned green and cars were speeding on both sides of my car. I have to go, I said., worrying that I would cause an accident for him or someone else. He safely got over to his spot and I left feeling thankful, so deeply indebted to him for accepting my money.