Monday, July 8, 2013

Breakfast with a Transient

A transient in her room.












WARNING:  This is a write up of my personal vacation and may carry some undertones or statements about the homeless that you may/may not agree with.  The intention is not to have a discussion about the homeless (that will be another time in July) but to read the story as I tell it from my experience about what I saw there.  Do not go further if you feel you need to debate my personal experience.  I have all comments on moderation and will not post anything negative in this one.  Thank you for stopping at this point or reading on. 


I had a wonderful Fourth of July vacation with my husband, John and my dog Sandie.  We went to an animal friendly hotel a couple of towns away from home.  We do this 2 times a year due to all the illegal fireworks in our neighborhood (ones that scare the heck outta my dog) and the boozing people til 2am at the local bar, and the parties on every side of us.  The hotel has always been very good to us.  We have a refrig. and microwave in our room so we were able to cut back on going out to eat for the two meals a day (breakfast is served buffet style) in the dining room!


One day we were sitting in the dining room and a very skiddish woman (or so we thought) was looking to sit down in the filled room and I had an extra chair at my table with my husband and offered it to her.  Her hands were filled with packets of hot chocolate (8 of them) and oatmeal packets (8 of them) and then a mass of artificial sweetners and creamers that she dropped on the floor.  My husband helped her up with them and she looked perplexed as she looked at the table with no room for all of that.  I found another empty chair and gave that to her and she divided them between the chair and the table.  She sat down and knocked her coffee onto the table (the table was unsteady) and I brought napkins to her and helped her clean up the table and she sat down.



Next it was time for the eggs.  My husband counted 10 hard boiled eggs on the table.  She left the table and went outside and came back with something to hold all the eggs.  I asked her if she needed a bag from my room and she declined saying that she would find something in the dumpster.  I tried to help her but she really didn't want any.  Then I suggested that she eat a waffle and she said, "Yes, I suppose I have time for that."  We all began to eat and enjoy her company.

She was forthright and loud in sharing that she is not staying in the hotel, she is a transient who happened upon this breakfast years back and comes often to get what she can.  I figured it was ok with the hotel. 

I told her about the cold cereal because for the life of me I couldn't figure out how she would get her hot chocolate hot or the oatmeal hot either.  She went and started bringing back boxes of cold cereal.  She shared all about how she picks fruit from all the fruit trees and avocados as well.  She said that she was kicked out of the shelter where we donate clothes and toiletries and games and school supplies for the children.



When it was time for us to leave and we went outside, I asked my husband if he thought she'd get nabbed for all that food when we left there, because the place started to clear out as we left.

On our last morning there, a man who is staying in the hotel told me about the problem of the homelessness and the way in which they abuse the food for breakfast by sneaking in the back door and shoving all that they can into their pockets and leaving.  I then shared with the breakfast attendant that morning what happened on the day no one replaced her for the day.  She said that quite often at the beginning of the month the homeless will come to the hotel and pay to sleep there for about 4 nights and then when they get to the breakfast station they pack boxes with the food and they can't do anything about it because the homeless are now hotel guests.

I was hearing her and agreed with her that it's a really bad situation because the homeless who are sleeping in the woods next to the hotel are taking advantage of the hotel.  They are stuck for a solution to this.  I suggested that they shut the back door and she said that she can't because of vendors coming in and out.  I also saw that she doubles as the breakfast attendant and the front desk gal for checkouts.  No wonder she can't keep her eyes on what is happening with the homeless people.

I was happy to have had breakfast with a transient and learn from her and then learn from the hotel staff.  By the way, during our last night at the hotel a transient came in and went skinny dipping.  We were already gone from the hot tub and pool when that happened but the word was all around the breakfast tables.  Also, I was warned not to go to the local motel because that is where the drug addicts are.  They get their checks and go there to sell drugs to each other and then into the woods to the homeless.  I'm so sad about this situation. But as of now there appears to be no answer to the problem.


4 comments:

thereafterish.com said...

I'm not here to debate the opinion or anything about that... I'm happy you put that disclaimer out there, because I know how easily offended people get. But I can clearly read your understanding and open mindedness. I can read how you are an open-hearted person, but you also are a principled individual who wants to help find solutions to problems that can hurt businesses. It's a mutually sucky situation. It's terrible to be homeless and it's sad that they have to resort to such desperate measures, but if I were in that situation, I probably would do the same things they do? At least she's smart enough to harvest the fruit that would otherwise get untouched. So at least she's getting nutrition somehow.

But it's also terrible for the hotel.

I'm so sad about this whole situation. It's beautiful there are people like you in this world, who are so understanding of both sides of the equation.

Tracie W. Bauguess said...

That is such a sad situation. I can understand the hotel being frustrated. Eventually they will have to increase prices, which will affect everyone else. But I feel bad for the homeless. Some people truly are down on their luck & only need a little push to get back on track. Others just want to take advantage of all they get. Its hard to know the difference.

Carolyn M said...

Thank you ladies! Carolyn

John Mullin said...

This put a real face to what is normally a generic news story

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