I remember the day I first met "Soan". (I would find out later is real name is Norman) Summer was just starting,that means we were already having temps over 100 degrees and just about all the Snow Birds had left the Valley. I was on my way to the Library and I had just turned on to Sunrise Way, and there on the right was this tall kid carrying a very tall and very loaded backpack. He was walking down the side walk in the same direction I was traveling. I remember thinking he must be really hot carrying the large load he had on his back as warm as it was outside.
I passed on by and went to the Library. When I came out of the Library parking lot, I saw he had made it to the corner by the Libary. As I came to the signal light on the corner where he was standing, I glanced over at him and and realized he actually looked like he was fixing to pass out. The light turned green so I had to go but
when I got where I could, I made a U-turn and headed back in his direction.
Now I am not going to sit here and tell you this is the firt time I had spotted
a guy on a corner and made a U-turn to go back and talk with him, but I must say I think it was the first time I had done it because I thought the guy was over heated and
about to pass out!!!
When I got back to the corner he was still standing right where he was when I came out of the Library. I pulled over to the curb and got out of my car. As I was walking up to him I introduced myself and asked if he was ok. He seemed to be ok but really overheated, so after talking a few minutes amd realizing he was not a serial killer, I had him put his back pack in the trunk of my car and we were headed back to my apartment. He was all of 19 years old.
So to make a long story short, or as My Sister Goya would say, let me give you
the Reader's Diget version, when we got back to my apartment and he got cooled off
in the pool, I found out he was 19 yrs old, straight and had come out from the East
Coast with some friends to see what kind of life he could have out here. His friends
had ended up getting arrested (not sure for what) soon after they had arrived
in Palm Springs and he was pretty much stranded with no where to go and not much money.
Ok,so those of you who know me already know where this going. I really liked this
kid, he was a real sweetheart and as far as I could tell, he was sincere and was telling me the truth. I felt deep down inside that I needed to help him. So after really giving it some thought (ok so I ran in around in my head a couple of time), I told him he was welcome to sleep in my couch for a while until he could get a little settled and figure out what he needed to do. He was totally shocked and had not expected it. I had already told him I was Gay and he had no problems with it so after talking about it a little more and setting some ground rules, he moved his backpack from my car to the corner of the living room.
Since I had lived alone for awhile it was a little strange having someone around
all the time. But he never was any trouble. All my friends liked him. (he was REALLY good looking so I had to tell all my Gay male friends he was off limits!!) Within
a week he had a full time job and offered to help with expenses. He ended up staying
with me for a couple of months and during that he met a girl and they hit if off
and after a few weeks he ended up moving in with her We were like family by
that time so he was always coming around checking on me. He was a great kid.
After a year or so I had moved to a new place and he and his girlfriend moved
and somewhere along the way we lost contact with each other. It wasn't long after
that I met Patrick and moved to LA. From time to time I wondered where he was
and what he was up to. I had his birhtday on my calender and would always wish him
a Happy Birthday on his special day.
FAST FORWARD 20 YEARS......
At work I always keep my phone on my desk with the volume turned off. I keep it where
I can see the screen in case Patrick or my Sister texts me. We were really busy
that day and when I looked down, Facebook had notified me someone had added me as
a friend but when I glanced town I did not recognize the name so I touched the screen so it would disappear. After a very busy day I headed home, had dinner and headed
to the Libray wiht the Nephew, its something we do every couple of weeks. I got
back home and was getting ready to go to bed when I rememberd the Facebook thing,so I
got on to check it out. When I brought the picture of the person who had added me up,
my mouth dropped open, it was Soan, an older version, but it was him.
He had also sent me a message with his phone number and asked me to cal him as soon
as I got he message. I was so shocked!!
So I called him and man were we both excied to hear each other's voices!! We talked for a little whild and kinda caught up. He told me he had been trying to find
me for the last few years. He started working at a Security company and from
there he access to the flies the Police Dept uses. That is how he was able to
find where I was. During our conversation he kept telling me it was very important
that we get together because he had something he really needed to tell me, that is
why he had been looking for me. So we checked our calendars and came up with a date a weeks later.
It was a great reunion. That skinny, tall young man I last knew is now 40 yrs old,
6'4" and weighs 280 lbs!! But his face is that same handsome face I knew but now
his hair is totally grew (in a good way). We went to breakfast and caught up
somemore but it was not until we got back to my house that the conversation took
on a more serious tone. I could not imagine what it was that he needed to tell me
that was so important that had hunted me down. We were siting at our table when
when got a serious look on his face. What he told me made me get all teary eyed.
He said he had hunted me down because he really needed me to know how thankful
he was that I had taken him in when I did and gave him a chance to get his life on track. He could not remember if he had every told me how much he appreciated
what I had done for him. I just sat there with tears in my eyes as he
talked to me, I could not believe it. He went on to tell me that he had gone back
to school and got his High School Diploma and had also gone to a trade school
and was a certifed mechanic in a special field. Because of the economic downturn
he had lost his mechanic job and was working in security until he could find
something else. The urgency to find me esculated because he was making plans
to move back East in a few months to be closer to his family and find work there, but
he needed to talk to me before he left. He said be believes none of that would
havd happened for him had I not stopped that day to see about him and then
let him stay with me. I was speechless, what do you say when someone tells
you something like that? I assured him I had always known that he appreciated
it because he had alway acted like he did. I always knew he appreciated it,
even if up until now,he had never verbally said so.
We spent a couple more hours visiting and he headed home and I head off to
something I had to do. For the next several days I was in a kind of daze.
I kept thinking how different things might have been had I not stopped
that day, but then you never know, maybe someone else would have stopped
to help him, these things you just can't know. But I do know, you
never ever know what a diffence you make when you stop and help someone,
even if you have no idea who they are......