A man asked me yesterday if I wanted to buy a power drill.
I was sitting in my car, waiting outside a supermarket for Laurie and Chuck, when he walked over and asked if I needed one. Last weekend we actually did, as Chuck's got misplaced in the move and he had to buy a new one. Not so any more.
He walked over to a few others who were also sitting in their cars, but found no buyers.
Having exhausted his pool of potential purchasers, he came back to me and asked, "Are you sure you don't need a drill?"
When I assured him that I was, he asked, "Want me to wash your car?"
This struck me as an odd idea, since there was nothing he could use to do it anywhere that I could see. I smiled and told him no, thanks.
He told me he'd been down on his luck. That he'd had a job at a nearby condo community for eight and a half years, but when he took ten vacation days off to visit his ailing mother out of state, he came back to find out that a new supervisor had taken over who told him he was no longer needed.
He said that he was successful in a suit for unlawful termination, but it got him a cash settlement rather than his job back. That money has since run out and his quest for new employment has been fruitless. "My wife is a good woman," he said, "but it's tough. And," he confessed, "I've been drinking, probably too much sometimes."
And so, here he was, in a supermarket parking lot, trying to sell his drill and offering to do any odd job (like wash my car) to make some money.
I wish I had the power to create work for people who want jobs but can't get find one, like this man seemed to. Life shouldn't be so tough here in the greatest country in the world. But it is...
I gave him a couple of dollars and wished him luck. He thanked me and walked off in search of someone who needed a drill.
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