So today, a homeless person asked me for some help. As someone who isn't homeless, I'm acutely aware of how much better my life is so I always seem to have a fair amount of guilt coloring all my actions towards the less fortunate. Which is why I agreed. Plus he said he was a hard of hearing, partially blind, Vietnam veteran who had been ripped off by Greyhound and hit by a car yesterday. This sets the scene.
So already I was questioning my decision to help this guy who seems very sketchy. I reluctantly believe his story since I try to assume people aren't lying to me so the pity and sympathy I'm feeling is strong. Plus, I figure a few minutes of my life to help this guy, what could it hurt?
Unfortunately, he wasn't the nice, grateful for help type of guy. He was curt and started to order me around. A woman saw this and objected to the way he was treating me. I just wanted to get this over with and get away so I tried to reassure her that I was okay and try and diffuse the situation.
That did not work because the homeless guy went off his rails and started yelling at the woman to back off and that he would do whatever he wanted. That pissed her off more and she starts really getting into it. And then her husband, incensed by how this homeless guy was treating his wife, starts getting into it as well.
So now I'm in the middle of this escalating situation and I have no idea what to do aside from trying to separate the parties and hope it doesn't descend into violence because the husband is really mad and the homeless guy won't shut up about how horrible everything was. He insults the couple who were Mexican and if you know me, you know I don't stand for that racist shit and I start getting upset. But the Mexicans weren't the only people who he hates because apparently everyone in the state of Oregon are awful, insane people and the people of Hood River even more so.
During all of this, he proclaims that people from Arizona (where he was from) were a much nicer, civilized bunch of people. When I pointed out the fact that he wasn't in Arizona, he literally tells me to go to Arizona. Like wtf?! Is that like some kind of reverse "go back to where you're from"?
The couple thankfully leaves without someone getting punched and the guy is still ranting about "those people" and how no one can tell him what to do because he was a disabled vet who got hit by a car. I tell him that doesn't excuse him from being a decent human being and he says that it does. So I remind him that I'm trying to do a nice thing and go out of my way to help him. It doesn't even seem to resonate with him because he blamed the woman for getting him riled up.
At this point, I had had enough and told him I was going to leave and that he could figure things out on his own if that is the way he was going to treat people who try to help him. He says he still needs help and demands that I stay and help him because he was a disabled vet who had gotten hit by a Mexican driving a car. I'm keeping most of this sanitized because if I had to type out all his curse laden language I would never get through with encounter.
He then threatens me by saying that I didn't want to piss off someone like him and at that point, I was like screw it. I tell him of he tries anything, I'll call the police and let them deal with him and I walk away all the while he's mumbling about how it was all that woman's fault and that this place was full of insane people.
I feel like I should have know better than to engage with him. And that I got off lucky things didn't end differently... But damn, if I wasn't shaking for at least ten minutes after that whole encounter...
But geez, these homeless people... They come up to Oregon because of our temperate summers and make the locals' lives miserable... What has become of my beautiful state?