Repost from my facebook.
Listening to Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub while getting dressed, I was getting all irritated by the topic of the NFL and stupid rules the players have to follow, which affects ME, the fat guy who sits on the couch with a cold beer in his hand. Walking to get coffee, I grew more irritated by the idiots who don’t know how to navigate intersections, because, you know, it slowed down my coffee mission. Who do these people think they are?
Walking into Dunkin’ Donuts across the street, some tall kid asked me for 80 cents so he could buy a coffee. For the love of god it’s way too early in the morning to already be fighting off lunatics. And for christ’s sake it’s 2016 and NOBODY carries cash anymore, nevermind perceivably worthless coins. He was way too young to be begging for change so I asked him what his deal is. He said he lost his arm in Iraq and was dealing with PTSD along with shrapnel in his skull and lower back. (He showed me the scars.)
The half-awake fog inside my brain instantly cleared and I realized for the billionth time what an asshole I am for getting worked up over meaningless crap. I thanked him for his service, invited him inside Dunkin Donuts with me and told him to order what he wanted. He ordered a small French vanilla, a Reese’s peanut butter square and a blueberry cake donut. I admired his morning sweet tooth and then paid for his $5 breakfast with my Dunkin’ Donuts smartphone app.
“Wow, pretty cool how you can pay right with your phone like that,” he said before thanking me profusely. His name is Pat.
When I inquired more about him, he told me he’s “kinda homeless” right now and bouncing around. He said he tried the homeless veterans shelder downtown, but didn’t like it and it’s tough to blame him:
He said he hoped for a prosthetic arm, but the odds were against him. He admitted he was in a very bad mental state. I told him there’s a lot of help available, but he has to want it and make the most of it. I told him I’d hate to see the sacrifices he’s made and injuries endured be all for naught if he doesn’t go on to live a happy and prosperous life. I told him people are happy to help him, so long as we see him continue to help himself.
If he continues his downward spiral after I bought him breakfast, I guess that makes me an entitlement program being taken advantage of. I’m currently living off state unemployment benefits so I guess that means I’m taking advantage of an entitlement program to fund an entitlement program being taken advantage of.
Despite being a current benefactor of the “system”, I do believe entitlement programs can go too far. I’m healthy with four intact limbs and I’m able to actively seek work. Pat is not. He’s in dire need of mental and emotional support and physical rehabilitation at a level I can’t possibly understand.
Sacrificing a small piece of my state benefits and investing it back into aid for an injured veteran was the very least I could do. Personally, I’m embarrassed I haven’t done more.