I was coming back from work yesterday night and an interesting thing happened to me. I came to the bus stop to get on a night bus, when suddenly I saw a man inside the bus stop booth. He was sitting there holding his head and looking down. It was 3 am so I though he was just a guy who was clubbing all night long and he just fell asleep. Suddenly he raised his head, pointed his small shiny eyes at me and moved his lips. I realized he was saying something to me but I was wearing my headphones. So I took them off and said:
- Pardon me?
- It- it- it is so cccold,- he was stuttering, his jaw was shaking and his teeth were clacking. It was a rather chilly night and this guy seemed to be really cold. I went inside the booth to have a better look at him. He was older than I thought. It was an Asian man in his late 40s or maybe 50s. He was looking at me and then said again: " It is so cold". He was just wearing a dirty T-shirt and shorts
and was shaking like he was having a seizure. It wouldn't take an educated guess to tell that this man was homeless. And I was surprised, because I've never seen a homeless Asian. So that's why I replied, because otherwise I would not:
-Oh is it?,- that was a stupid reply. I realized it only when it flew off my mouth. Like that poor guy wasn't sure if he is cold. I thought to myself "Tigran, what the fuck is wrong with you? Your stupidity is the last thing this man needs right now". Then I asked him:
- Why are you here?
- I don't know.
What do you mean, "you don't know"? That's not what you usually answer on questions like that.
-Do you have a place to live?
-Yes, I have a condo.
-Well, why are you here then?
-I don't know.
"This is not getting us anywhere", I thought. The bus was not coming. So I sat near him. He was freezing.
-I'm sorry; I don't have anything to warm you up.
I was wearing just a dress shirt without a jacket or a blazer. I put my hand around his shoulder and realized I just gave a hobo a hug. He was very skinny and that's why it was even harder for him to withstand that coldA. However, this man didn't smell bad, he had a fresh breath and I didn't expect that.
-What is your name?
-Yang Guo Su, - he replied with a weak voice.
-I'm Tigran. Nice to meet you
-Likewise, - he didn't have a strong accent so I concluded that he had been here for a while.
- Where are you from?
- From Taipei. But I have Canadian citizenship.
- Do you have family here?
- Yes. I have a wife and 2 kids: Jimmy and Tommy.
- Well why are you here then? Why don't you go home?
- I can't go there. I am supposed to be 10 miles away from there.
-What did you do?
- I got jailed. My wife and I had a fight and she is stronger than me she forced me out of my house and called the police and I got jailed for 6 days. And I can't go back now. We had a fight, because I know she did terrible things. And I can't go back to my house, it's registered under my name, I own it. I just want to see my kids. I just want to see Jimmy and Tommy. Did you see them? Did you see Jimmy or Tommy?- and he started crying. And I can tell you that there is nothing sadder and more heartbreaking in this world than to watch how a grown man is crying bitter tears. When men cry, it's different. He didn't scream or shout, he sat there silently, shaking and making muffled noises and tears were rolling down his wrinkled cheeks and falling on his ketchup stained shorts.
I didn't know what to say. I'm very bad at things like that. I can't lie to people and tell them everything will be just wonderful. I don't know if it will. I was just sitting there with my arm around his shoulder and just kept saying "it's gonna’ be ok". I said if there is someone he can call. He said there was not.
-Are you hungry?
He shook his head:" I have plenty of food. I have enough money"
- Do you want me to call 911? They will help you.
Yang Guo Su shook his head again. He was about to faint from cold. I exhaled loudly and did something I would have never done. I took off my shirt and gave it to him. He put it on as if it was a cape. So I stand there with half naked, and watch this Taiwanese man cry. He was saying something in Chinese but you didn't have to know Chinese to tell what he was saying.
-Do you have money?
-Yes yes I do.
- Do you have enough money for a hotel?
-Yes I stayed in a hotel.
I wasn't even asking "why are you here then? go back to the hotel". Instead I said
- I shall call you a cab and get you to a hotel.
He looked at me like I was Jesus Christ, who appeared before him as a white teenager. I called a cab. The cab arrived,
- I need you to take this man to a hotel.
The Indian driver looked at me and he wasn't really excited about that. A naked guy asks you to give his old hobo friend a ride; of course you would get suspicious.
-Don't worry. He has got money.
-Show the money first.
Yang Guo Su took out his wallet and gave him 50 $. He then gave me my shirt back and sat in the car. The lights in the cab lighted up his face and I could finally see him. That was a face of a man who’s been through too much. He is not homeless. He is unlucky. Just unlucky. The cab drove away and I stood there for 10 minutes when my bus finally arrived.