While filming a Christmas party for the homeless in Wichita, Kansas, hosted by the homeless outreach organization Let’s Rock & Roll & Change the World Inc, I happened to notice a man opening a Christmas card. As I watched him slowly beginning to open the card, I decided to begin recording. What I recorded was a very surreal moment.
The man ever-so-gently opened the envelope of the card. As he pulled the card out of the envelope, he began shaking his head in a fashion that suggested he believed the gesture was too much. He began reading the card, but after a moment put the card down, but not because he had finished reading it.
I watched as the man closed his eyes and began to show how much a simple card meant to him. Something many of us toss aside and view as a hassle appeared to have such a deep impact on this man.
After regaining his composure, he reopened the card and continued reading. After reading the card, the homeless man did not tear open his two presents sitting directly in front of him. Instead, he gently put the card back into the envelope from which it came. He then placed his head in his hands and began to cry.
I could not help but wonder how long it had been since he received a Christmas card? A woman asked if he was okay, to which he responded, “I’m okay.” The man went on to say, “Blessings are given. Some people don’t appreciate it, but I’ll tell you what I do. I appreciate all of it.”
I was told by Kimberly Sims, one of the founders of Let’s Rock & Roll & Change the World Inc, that the man’s name was Rick. However, Rick had also earned the nickname “Spiderman” after he arrived at the outreach one day with two very bad spider bites on his arm which required medical treatment. The outreach group has known Rick for over three years. Sims also told me the man was a Veteran. Rick was a former marine.
While talking with another woman, I noticed Rick leaving and ran outside to catch him. Rick told me he was a Veteran and served for eight years. He has been homeless for four years and is receiving no assistance from Veterans Affairs, like many other Veterans around the country. Bob Johnson, another founder of the outreach group, has said that Rick’s mother died just last week.
After a brief conversation, I gave Rick and his friend Brian $20 I got from a friend I had ridden to the Christmas party with since I had no cash on me. When Rick saw it was a twenty, he stopped as if he did not want to take it, but I pushed it towards him quick enough to where he was not able to refuse. He thanked me but had to leave before I could find out why he was living on the streets all these years.
Since releasing the video of Rick opening his Christmas card, we have received multiple inquiries on how to help Rick. TDH is in the process of figuring out a legitimate plan of action to help Rick and will try to keep people updated if, and when, this project moves forward.