Hello my Lovelies! This has been a tough week. Emotionally it has been a tough week. And not because of the pandemic or the unpredictable Texas weather. I want to tell you a story. One that I believe that needs to be told. This is the story of a man who I will call Mr. B and his dog Whiskey.
I first met Mr. B on Wednesday this week. He came to my office to seek help in getting his social security off of his pay card. His card was frozen. He had no access to his monthly income. Together we called the number on the card to inquire why his only access to money had been frozen. The wait time was close to two hours. He patiently sat in my conference room waiting for someone to answer his call. We finally get to the operator. He is able to give all the identifiers, except one. Where was original card was mailed many years before. To further identify him the operator asked for him to fax over his IDs to be verified and to call back in 48 hours to find out why his funds are frozen.
Now my fellow readers this is where my story of Mr. B and Whiskey really begins.
Let me tell you a little about Mr. B
Mr. B is a Vietnam Vet. Wounded while in service. He walks with a very noticeable limp due to a bullet he took in the knee while in service. He crafted his own cane to assist him. It is a beautifully crafted piece from the root of a tree he found during his travels. He used his tools to create a spiral effect down the length of the cane and finished it off with a polish to bring out the beauty of the wood.
Mr. B is homeless (at this point because he cannot access his social security). He has been living in his truck with his dog Whiskey. Whiskey is his partner. She is a beautiful black lab with a spot of white running down her chest. And boy does she love her owner! She sits waiting for him either in the truck or sitting on the roof of the truck. (Don’t worry she won’t go far, she is safely leashed to the seatbelt in the truck.) She is playful and loves those who greet her. And she is very proud to show off the chew toys Mr. B has given her to keep her happy.
Mr. B shares everything he has with Whiskey. Of course, Whiskey, has her own food and is very well taken care of. But when Mr. B gets a meal he always shares a bite or two with his best friend Whiskey.
Mr. B admits he has done wrong. Mr. B admits he has spent time in prison and paid for his crimes. Mr. B admits he is a recovering addict and works hard every day to continue to stay sober. (He has been sober for over a decade now) He named his best friend Whiskey since he no longer drinks to remind himself of his recovery.
I had the pleasure of hearing the many stories that Mr. B told. Of learning of his childhood, his time in the war, his travels, his hardships. I learned that he loves to read. I learned that he loves woodworking. I learned that he loves carpentry. I learned that he loves building houses. I learned that he (before his troubles) was a business owner. And I learned how much he loves his dog, Whiskey.
Mr. B is diabetic.
Mr. B is homeless.
Mr. B is without food.
Mr. B is a VETERAN.
Mr. B has money but is not allowed to access it because he cannot remember the address where his card was mailed to many, many years ago.
Over the last three days I have had to witness the shameful way our aging community is treated. Over the last three days I had to witness how a man who fought for our country was treated as if he was no one. Over the last three days I have had to hear a representative tell this man who has no access to food, shelter and critical medicine for his diabetes “that’s not my problem”. Over the last three days I had to hear a representative tell me and my coworkers “we are doing to much for him”.
Now friends, stop and think about that.
Let that sink in.
Now, think about your parents, your grandparents, your brothers, your sisters, your aunts, your uncles. Think about all those that you love and care about. Think about someone on the other end of the phone telling those you love, you can’t eat, you can’t find shelter, you can’t get the medicine you need…because you can’t remember an address.
I have a new friend and his name is Mr. B.
Mr. B has a dog named Whiskey.
Mr. B lived in my parking lot for three days.
Today my coworker and I had the pleasure of finally getting him access to the money he has earned in his life. Today I watched my new friend walk out the door to his dog Whiskey to go get a hotel room and a hamburger to share with Whiskey.
So my friends that is my story for the week. I will never forget Mr. B and his dog Whiskey. I count myself one of the lucky ones that had the honor of not giving up on him and “doing too much” to make sure he was able to get what was rightfully his.
P.S. Don’t worry my coworkers and I didn’t allow Mr. B to go hungry. We made sure he had food and water during this time. We made sure he wasn’t bothered while he sought shelter in our parking lot. We made sure he was given the respect that ANY human deserves to be given.