Kindness is Contagious

(Note:  This is an update to a post I made back in December 2013 about an encounter I had with a panhandler on Christmas Eve 2013.  That post received such attention on my blog and on Facebook, that I decided to update everyone on the incredible happenings to ‘Phillip’ since that time…)


There is a panhandler that has been working a street corner nearby for over four years.  Although I drive by him nearly everyday, it wasn’t until Christmas Eve of last year that I finally introduced myself to him and took some time to find out his story.  The experience was unforgettable and I documented the story on my Project 365 blog.  Some of you may recall this particular post, but for those who are unfamiliar with the background, here’s an excerpt…


December 24, 2013,

I’d like you meet someone I’ve known for years, but have actually never met until today. He spends most days sitting on a street corner not far from my home asking for food, water or ‘anything’ to help. I have driven past him virtually everyday for the past four years, and I kindly return his friendly smile or wave, or offer him some spare change if it is available. His presence has become so commonplace to me, that if he isn’t on the street corner I get a bit worried, and I wonder what has happened to him. Despite this, I have never once bothered to take a moment out of my day to sit with him and ask him his story. Well today I decided to change all that. Instead of simply driving by, I pulled into a nearby drug store and purchased a Santa’s hat as a gift for him. I then walked over to meet him and find out more about this man I see nearly everyday but know nothing about.

DSC_9966.retro.webIt turns out his name is Phillip. He is 56 years old and isstruggling to make ends meet. Because of his disability, he is unable to work so he receives a monthly disability check from the government of $700. Out of that stipend he pays $600/mo for rent, with the remainder going towards heat and electricity. There is nothing left for food or clothing. Years ago, he would dig around in dumpsters for food, or he would break into cars to steal money in order to feed himself. But he says those days are behind him, and now he simply appeals to people’s charitable side by working the street corner every day.

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