A young runaway discover the meaning of Christmas and compassion for others.
| Twelve year old Taylor stood in the cold as he looked through a window at the video game demonstrations on LCD screens. Before he ran away from home four days ago, he would play for hours at a time. That was before his mother married his soon to be step dad, Ross. When that happened, Ross took immediate control over how much he could play, when he could visit his fiends, and whee he went. His mom chose to be ignorant of all that was going on. The last straw was when his stepfather forced him to call him "dad." That was the day he left.
What will I do? What will I eat. Now I know what its lie to be homeless. Mom and I would always walk right past poor people and not give it a second thought. If I ever get a normal life again I promise to always give to others. He thought. Taylor noticed a man, bunched up against a wall shivering. He walked over and gave the poor soul his jacket. Taylor could spare it because he still had a thick sweater and a long sleeved shirt.
"Thank you,"the old man gasped.
He walked down the street with his arms folded. The he got an idea. Maybe my friend Curtis would let me stay with him. His parents would surely call mom and Ross. Forget that. A homeless shelter. I'll ask around.
He stopped a person. "Excuse me, do you know where the nearest homeless shelter is?"
"Sorry kid. I don't,"he said as he kept walking. Taylor asked a few others but got the same kind of response. Then he noticed a Salvation Army truck halted at a stop sign and ran to the driver. "Sir, can you help me I'm homeless"
The man smiled. "Hop in kid,"he said to Taylor. He was about to get in when he remembered the old man. "Wait! There's somebody else needs help too." He quickly ran to the sidewalk but was horrified when he saw the old man life less laying on the cold ground. He was about to run to him the stop light had turned green. He closed his eyes and cried. He knew hew was dead. He ran back to the truck and got in the passenger seat of the truck. He was wondering how he could be in tears so much for a person he didn't even know. He recalled hearing about poor people dying all the time on the news. He remembered seeing dead poor people on tv then casually turning the channel to watch cartoons.
"What's your name?" said the man.
"I'm Don. From the looks of you, you've barely been on the streets for very long. Did you run away from home?"
"I sure did and I'm never going back there."
"You don't know how good you have it. Anything is better than being cold and starving. Once you experience life on the streets is, you'll be wishing you'd never left home,"said Don.
"You don't know how mean my step dad is," Taylor said bitterly.
Before he knew it, they were there. The outside of the building was bare. Don opened the door with a creak. Inside were cots with dozens of homeless people sleeping. Don showed him to a cot and Taylor sat down. A few hours passed and something started to happen to him. The idea of sheer destitution and hopelessness began to sink into his consciousness. He was dreading his present state as it became more and more real. He missed his mom, his friends and his warm safe bed. He wished it were a nightmare;that he could just go to sleep and wake up in his house. He laid down and found it hard to sleep but finally drifted off. That night he had a nightmare. He was in his twenties in rags and had not eaten for days. He walked into a mini-mart hidden by a group of people and pocketed a few bags of chips. A customer saw him and told the cashier. He ran out the door but a few few hours later the was caught trying to run away down the street and was put in jail. While behind bars he was eye by intimidating figures with angry looks in their eyes. One of them was offended by the way Taylor looked at him and was approached by a large muscular man in his late forties.
"You got a problem dude,"he said
Taylor didn't know what to say.
"I asked you A question! I'm gonna mess you up!" the man said, and right before he was about to punch him in the face he awoke. He was starting to have second thoughts just like Don said he would. He went looking for Don and found him in an office on the phone and picked up what he was saying.
"Yes officer, he's here right now. I'll make sure he stays here." Don saw him in the doorway. "So you heard me?"
Yes, I'm ready to go home. This is no way to live. He broke out in tears. "I miss being at home! I want things the way they were."
"The police are on their way to pick you up and take you back," Don said.
Later the police arrived along with his mom and step dad. They were in tears. "Please don't ever run away again! I promise "I'll listen t to you,"said his mom. "I promise I'll back off and give you more privacy and I won't be overbearing like I now realize I was. From now on we'll work together as a family and be honest,"said Ross.
"Okay mom, Ross. But from now on can we give to the poor and visit homeless shelters and help people?"
"Of Course, that sounds wonderful. Now let's go home." With his mother's last words the left the shelter and drove home.