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Thanks Guys: A Homeless Tale

Thanks Guys

We’ve known Lonnie for about six or seven years now. He’s homeless.

There was a time when he had a spot where he always slept at night, outside, under a big awning that protected him from some of the rain and snow, but none of the sweltering summer heat or frigid, icy winter winds. Whenever we drop off a meal or a snack or a couple bucks, we always receive the same response: “Thanks guys” says Lonnie, with a great big, glistening smile that tries in vein to cover the ocean of sadness behind his weary eyes. Lonnie is well read and knows a thing or two about world history. After every conversation we leave shaking our heads in wonder; “ Lonnie … he could be any other lawyer, broker, or banker walking around downtown … but he isn’t … Lonnie … what happened …?”


This summer, Lonnie has been running his own successful business. He buys bottles of water for sixty-five cents and sells them for a dollar.  His marketing campaign consists of one air-brushed T-shirt that he wears with pride. It says: Lonnie’s Ice Cold Water.

Recently, on one of our evening walks along the harbor, we saw Lonnie. It was a hot night and cold water was just what we needed, but Lonnie wouldn’t sell us any. “I’m doing okay guys. You help me when I need it, now I want to help you.” And once again we walked away from a conversation with Lonnie shaking our heads. “Lonnie … he could be any other lawyer, broker, or entrepreneur walking around downtown … but he isn’t … Lonnie … he’s so real, so grateful …”

The Bigger Test

Judaism teaches that sometimes wealth is a greater challenge than poverty.
Want to know what Judaism says is often the greatest challenge of all? It’s the struggle to say thank you.

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Comments icon August 28, 2009


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