Mid August 2018 I was in downtown Chicago on business and visiting a former brother who I served with while in the Army. That evening I was leaving Iwan Ries and was at the intersection waiting on the cross walk signal to change. As I gazed into the lights of the sign I recall in the corner of my eye seeing a man sitting with his back against the wall with a cup in his hands. Just as I was about to cross I heard his ask young man could you spare any change? I knew he was talking to me since I was the only one who was at that intersection. In my head I was thinking absolutely not, however at that moment something tugged at my heart and I decided to do something different than I had ever done which was rather answer him with the response of yes or no, I will ask him a question.
I asked him what was his name and how did you end up on the corner? He said well my name is Leo and I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1972-1976 as a Grunt (Infantry). He went on to tell me that after he got out of the Marines he came to Chicago and worked for the City of Chicagos Fire Department, where he was a part of the crew that was on Engine #19. He told me that this was the best truck. After being called out to a fire he fell through he roof of the building being coming disabled and later reached out to the Union and the VA for help and wasn't helped. He said after all this happened Betty passed away and he gestured his hand to cover his heart and point to the sky and said he's now up in heaven.
Once he shared his story with me I reached into my pocket and unfold a few bills and shared what I had with him and he put it in his cup and said thank you and thank you for talking to me.