So My daughter Amorangi Blake and Freedym Paiti just told me she wrote a post and took a pic about me sharing a bite to eat with a Homeless guy tonight. Here's my side of the story.
So tonight after watching our Champion Gold Medal Winning Koka Huia with her little T rex arms playing for YMP Hockey, My girls asked if they could get something to eat from Domino's pizza. As we pulled up there was a man standing outside the restaurant with a cap near his feet and it looked like he was busking for cash, but really he was just asking for change. I didn't think much of it at the time as I got out of van until my little girl Kararaina Blake goes to me "Dad that man, you should buy him a pizza he looks really cold and hungry, but you give it to him Dad" so I said yes which in turn made my girl smile.
After we placed our order Kara and I headed back outside and as she jumped into the van the man goes to me do you have any spare change? I turned to him and replied "arohamai Matua, I don't have any loose change on me but if you don't mind waiting a few minutes my lil girl has bought you a pizza it shouldn't be too long." He was really thankful shook my hand and I hopped back into my warm van. I noticed a lot of people walking past trying not to make eye contact with him which was sad. This quickly reminded me of one of my year 10 students from TKAS who has just finished an Inquiry on Global Citizenship and one of her most significant learning moments was around poverty in particular the homeless. This week she had been working on a free flow poem and her first line, like an explosion flashed in front of me.."You notice me.. But you don't see me."
Like her poem, you could see people knew the man was there, but they did not want to make eye contact for whatever reason. Whether or not they were too shy or out of fear, shame or even disgust, they noticed him, but they didn't see him.
Once the order was ready I grabbed the pizzas walked outside gave the man the pizza Kara had bought him and a drink, he shook my hand and said thank you and bless you brotha, I wished him all the best told him to take care, keep warm and enjoy the kai then jumped into van.
As I started putting on my seatbelt i saw the man sit down on the cold pavement, open up the pizza box and start devouring one of the slices of pizza sitting alone. I looked at my girls and I asked them if it was okay if Dad did something, of which they said yes. I grabbed one of the pizzas from Karas box jumped out of the van walked towards the man and I asked him if it was okay to sit down beside him and share a meal together.
For 20-30 minutes Anthony and I shared stories of where we were from, to our children, high schools we went to, rugby teams we played for even had a laugh about how I went to the Bledisloe Cup and sat next to the Ozzy touring party and was passionately nice when we would score a try😜 we also spoke about life on the streets of Gisborne. That was an interesting conversation from his perspective. A man who had just come out of Dominoes carrying a large number of Pizzas into his truck even returned gave Ants $10 and said keep warm tonight. Which was pretty cool.
I could see my girls in the Van and I told Ants that I better get my girls home so I thanked him for the company and the meal asked him if he needed anything blankets clothing etc a ride but he thanked me and declined. I gave him a Hug and told him to keep safe, jumped in the Van waved out to him and came home.
Last night I had some of my students over for dinner and a movie and during dinner Koka Huia and I posed this question.
What are you grateful for?
After tonight and listening to what my students shared as well which was very heartfelt.
It's people and our relationships we have with them
the people we love
the people who inspire us
from he people that have made a difference in our lives to the people like Anthony who remind us to not take things for granted, be grateful for what you have for their are many others that are less fortunate.
Wish you all the best Ants I'll be sure to look out for ya and anybody else in need and less fortunate as I.