Blogging · Canada · Me myself and I · Montreal · Thoughts

John Doe…

I was out of my last screening at Montréal’s Wold Film Festival today and on my way home. Just next to the Métro station’s door, sat a homeless man.

Up to here, nothing special. No Blog  material.

I don’t give money to homeless people.

Homeless people can be seen everywhere in Montréal… Either sitting on the sidewalk waiting for people to leave loose change in an empty cup or a dirty baseball cap. Others prefer to walk around in crowds and ask for money.

Homeless people make me sad. I don’t want to pity them, because it gives me the impression we take their dignity by doing so. But it does make me sad to see young adults that could very easily work and make a living, getting and apartment and all… I don’t like seing women begging, because I can only imagine how harsh their lives must be, being so vulnerable… And I hate to see elders that are just fading on a sidewalk.

Now, I bet you still have that sentence on your mind; “I don’t give money to homeless people”. Why not?? You’re doing alright, why not share with the most needy?

I didn’t say I didn’t give. I don’t give money. It might sound like I generalize, but a lot of homeless people give priority to alcohol and drugs… And I couldn’t really blame them. So I prefer offering food. If the person asking me for money is hungry, I’ll offer to go to the nearest grocery store or convenience store, and I pick them a few things… If I have a few minutes to spare, of course.

Today, I stopped in front of the man near the subway entrance. I told my white lie (I don’t have change, I just use my cards). I saw that he already had a brown bag and an iced coffee by his side, so I switched to my second weapon of choice, a cigarette. I’ve never talked to a homeless person who didn’t smoke.

The man accepted the cigarette with a large smile. We engadged into a conversation… Mostly small talk, but it didn’t matter…  It was a nice exchange, and I realize how rare it must have been for him to have pedestrians stop and chat. He told me about the man who had given him his lunch.

  • He went to Tim Horton’s and got me a sandwich and an iced mochaccino…  He spent 11$ on me, you know?

He asked for my name and his smile spread even larger… His sister had the same first name. He made a comment about my hair, and we chit chatted a few minutes. His warm brown teeth smile was a so genuine that I wonder who enjoyed the talk the most.

I was running out of time, chéri was waiting for me for supper… But one thing stricked me. I had been kind of rude, not asking for his name, when he asked for mine.

  • And what is your name, sir?

He paused. I immediately understood that it wasn’t a question he heard often enough.

  • John… My name is John!

At that moment, I told myself that without even meaning to, I had turned him from John Doe, to just John. And sometimes, less is just better. We shook hands, and I told him it was lovely meeting him, which it really was. He asked me if I lived in the neighbourhood, and I told him I didn’t… But that I came in the erea every once in a while…

  • We might meet again then…

We very well might, John…. And it will be a pleasure!

8 thoughts on “John Doe…

  1. Your post has hit very close to home. My father was homeless and lived on the streets in Edmonton on more occasions than I care to admit. Although I tried several times to help him, I was not only fighting against the system but I was also fighting against a very powerful force, his paranoid schizophrenia. All too often, those suffering with mental illness slip between the cracks of the Mental Health Act and society’s stigma about mental illness; consequently, they end up living on the streets.

    It brings me great comfort knowing that there are angels out there like you and the man who bought John lunch. Through your simple acts of kindness, both of you treated John with the dignity and respect he so richly deserved. Thank you for that.

    I can only hope that during my father’s experiences of living on the street, he too was treated with dignity and respect by angels like you and that other man who truly walk among us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG! I almost deleted this post just before hitting the “publish” button.

      I would have a lot to say about this… May I use your touching comment to do a whole post on the subject, please? I would really appreciate it!

      *mega mega mega hugs* for the souvenirs all this must have brought back


      Liked by 2 people

  2. By all means, please do write about it. Anything that advocates on behalf of the homeless is a step forward in my books. Thank you so much for taking this step.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am happy if I can bring light on the caring families that just can’t do anything but try to help…

      It is so easy to judge when we don’t know the whole story!

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂


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