In live in Orange County, a suburban sprawl of gated communities and ethnic pockets. The home of the happiest place on earth thanks to Mr. Disney. Put on the map by “The OC” and portrayed by the glamorous lifestyles of The Real Housewives Of Orange County. Affluence and designer running clothes. Where a $100,000 car doesn’t even get a second look.
But hidden from the cameras are the people who also live here…the homeless.
I see them every day. Everyone does. Most freeway exits will have someone holding a sign. “Need a job” “Homeless and hungry”. Some are more creative, “My Lamborghini ran out of gas can you spare a $1”.
Porsches and panhandlers. Soccer moms and street moms. Dripping diamonds and dripping sweat. As I was walking to my car today I passed a group of homeless people that had a chihuahua barking ferociously at me. Don’t worry they said, he’s in the backpack. He’s not very peaceful, they all laughed…the backpack had peace signs on it. They may be homeless but they kept their sense of humor.
I thought about them as I drove home…thankful to have a home to go to. Driving past million dollar houses perched high on cliffs with maids washing the ocean view windows. As I exited the freeway I see a man sitting down at the off ramp. No sign. Very old and weathered. Unshaven and dirty, hasn’t bathed for many days…perhaps weeks. No backpack and a handful of belongings sitting next to him. Not asking for anything as the cars turned into their gated lives. Instead this man with nothing was giving. A peace sign to every passing car. I gave one back.