A great day to be at the beach and we go to our ususal spot at Warm Waters in Carlsbad and we found a great parking spot but it was a little bit of a walk so we decided to just go to the right of our usual spot because it was easier to get to.
I brought along Lauren, my brother-in-law’s girlfriend, and she started to take all the kids while I grabbed all the usual gear into my new handy dandy beach cart which I love by the way and got for $20 at a resale store!
I started into the sand and was having a little trouble cause I don’t know how to handle it yet when all the sudden I hear this voice say, “pull” I look over and I see a homeless man with his little camp area set up along the boardwalk wall.
I turn it around and proceed to pull and it worked wonderfully obviously. I had to walk by him to get to the area we were going and told him that I had just bought it and hadn’t used it yet so that he didn’t think that I was just clueless.
We started to setup our umbrella when I see him coming towards us in the corner of my eye and I immediately got a little nervous and scared. He came up to us and told my kids to go find rocks. I thought to myself why would he be telling them to do that. He then asked if I had a big bag and I was still nervous about him still.
The kids came back and we got the bag out and he then started putting rocks into my bag and he asked for string or something to tie it onto the center of the umbrella. ”Genius!” I thought to myself and my image of him started to change and I immediately thought of the civility video. He talked to me about how much he knows about the beach weather and how to setup things in a way that things stay in tack and don’t fly away.
He commented to me on my umbrella and how nice it was and how much it had cost me and as he walked away I looked back at his and a thought came to me that he needed to have my umbrella. I have 2 of them and I only need one. I asked that girls if that would be a nice thing for us to do for him and they were excited to give it to him after we were done using it.
It was a very simple act of kindness that he showed us but it meant something to me but that wasn’t the end of it. He came back another time with a soccer ball that he had found in the dumpster that he wanted to give to my children.
We thanked it for him and Reeghan and Easton immediately gravitated to it and started to play and once again thanked him for his kind gesture and he walked away. A half hour passes and during that time the wind was changing so we probably moved our umbrella about 3 different times trying to figure out the best way to make it work. I told Lauren that I bet he’s laughing at us right now and that be coming back.
Sure enough he came back but this time not to tell us how ridiculous we looked but to give us more! This time it was some clothing magazines the he thought we’d enjoy and then he gave us a box of chocolates. I told him that he was being way too generous to us. Then I asked him his name and that began our long discussion about life.
He taught me something that day about civilty and he did talk to me like I was his best friend. He opened up to me and told me things for over an hour about his life and the rough things that he has seen.
He talked of being a orphan in Germany, his coming to America, AM talk radio, alcohol (which at this point I felt very comfortable telling him to give it up and asked why he drinks), he talked about he enjoys being lonely and doesn’t like crowds, talked of God and church, then politics and America.
I asked him about who he thought should run our country and he told me that he was a Mitt Romney supporter. I agreed. Then I felt at that moment that he needed to hear more about me. I told him about how family is so important to me and they are everything. He agreed and wished that he could love someone like that. My heart ached. His countenance was so real and I believed that the words that were coming from him were genuine. I then talked about church and how it is my life and everything revolves around it.
Then Paetan came up to me and was doing the “i gotta go number two dance” which is holding your bum and prancing around so we had to abruptly end our conversation so that I could take her. I thanked him for his discussion with me and he returned to his area of the beach.
Came back to find that the kids were done and we started to pack up to leave and I glance over at him and the CA state beach lifeguard jeep was by him. He was writting him up for something. I told the girls that this would be a prime to time to take him the gift that we thought he could use. So Lauren took the boys and walked to the car while we stopped off to hand it to him.
“The girls and I would like to give you a gift now, we’d like you to have our umbrella,” I said to him. He thanked us but you could tell that he wanted to say more but I had interrupted their conversation and I turned to the lifeguard and asked if their was a problem and he said, “we are in the middle of a conversation could you leave yours until I finish up here?” The nerve of him to say that after I had just shown to him an act of kindness! Now I can see what Al was talking about how we American’s are so into rising to the top and stepping on those around us.
I walked off and said goodbye and hoped that I would see him again one day. I talked to the girls about not judging a person by the way they look because the outward appearance can be deceiving just like Al but inward he was considerate and kind. Reeghan told me at first that he was scared of him and didn’t want to talk to him. I agreed and told her I was the same way but he showed us differently that day.
We got into the car and pulled away and the spirit told me to go back to him and give him a Book of Mormon. I told the girls that I kept hearing it over and over and we got to the freeway and my heart was just racing and I turned to them and told them that we needed to find a book and now.
I didn’t want to drive all the way home to get one because I feared that he would be gone from his spot. I called 5 of my Carlsbad friends from church and finally Shauna answered and she had one! We drove over to her place and Lauren drove back to the beach so that I could write him a note inside.
We got to the boardwalk and were almost back at our spot when I happened to glance up and he was walking along the boardwalk with his bike and belongings. I told her to pull over and I had to run back towards him about 500 ft.
I reached him and he was shocked to see me again and asked what I was doing. ”Al, I have one last special gift to give to you. This book means everything to me and has changed my life and I know it will change yours if you give it a chance.” He said he wasn’t much of a reader but he said he would.
I felt like I needed to tell him Reeghan and I about how scared we were at meeting him but of course our hearts changed and we were taught. He begin to get a little teary eyed and it was such a wonderful moment that I will always cherish.
Al changed me and now I understand that video I shared up above. I understand how that lady was feeling that day and I do have a special place in my heart for the homeless and that experience with Al will be never forgotten.
Who knows if he will read it and if he doesn’t at least I was able to stand up and give it to him and bear my testimony about that book. I was so thankful too that I was able to teach my children that day about kindness and acting upon the spirit.