Retread Angels on Mount Ararat


Safeway Medallion logo, 1980

Safeway Medallion logo, 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was walking with my magic staff in the Safeway parking lot when
I spotted another man walking with a staff.  He was rather disheveled
and had a backpack.  I cried, “Ho there!” and walked toward him.

He looked me up and down and said, “Hi!  Are you a magician?”

I replied, “No, I’m a wizard.”

He muttered, “Well I’m a working man.” and walked away.

Later, I would see him walking around town with and without his staff.
It was obvious that he was another homeless soul in the wealthy hamlet
where I had sequestered myself.

One day, I saw him outside the Safeway again.  I thought I would try
and approach him again.  I didn’t have my magic staff but I took a chance
and walked up to him again with a $5 bill and said, “Here’s the $5 that I lent you.”

He said, “What is this?  A pigeon drop?”

I said, “No, just take the money, it’s yours.”

He thanked me and went into the Safeway and I took a seat on the bench
outside to roll up a cigarette.  As I was lighting the cigarette, he came outside
and sat on the bench next to me.  I introduced myself and he said his name was Curtis.

We talked for a good bit and even bought a losing scratch off ticket together.
( He insisted on giving me 50c for half the ticket.)  Apparently he had grown
up in that area of California.

As we were sitting and talking, Michael, one of the guys that worked at this
Safeway as a bagger and cart rounderupper came over to us.  Michael and I
had often spoken, he seemed just a little slow, or maybe it was just an act.

Michael and Curtis seemed to know each other pretty well.  Michael asked if
that was a bottle of wine Curtis had in his backpack.  Curtis told him it was.
Michael told him to be careful and not get caught drinking outside the Safeway
again.  He then asked Curtis if he had gone through the groceries he had given
him.  Curtis said he was still good.

I am still touched by the pathos of Michael, a low wage bagger in one of the
wealthiest areas in the Bay Area, helping out a homeless man in a city where
Safeway would block people from taking day old bread out of their dumpsters.
(I got nailed trying to retrieve some dumpster donuts on a couple of occasions.)
I never saw Curtis again but I am sure Michael is still working at that Safeway.

I’m convinced that both of them were angels.

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    • P.A. Donohue
    • April 30th, 2013

    safeway must get some gratification of the monetary variety from the government because they do hire the ‘handicapped’ and do so at the store here in HMB… but NO ONE should toss food cause it doesn’t sell there are food shelters that should get the food.. I enjoyed the read… 🙂 pa…

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