i saw him sitting at a newspaper stand…

i saw him sitting at a newspaper stand, watching the world go by.

he called out to me so i stopped to talk, he asked me why.

why do you always care about me when nobody else gives a damn?

i’m just a bum, no one cares about me… he asked me why.


so we walked & we talked the night away…

i didn’t actually say much to start with, but i did invite him in for a feed.  i asked if i could bless him.  tears welled up in his eyes as i prayed, & he chipped in with a prayer of his own.

i thought that would be it… he would go his way, & i was off to home group.

but he was very insistent; he wanted to repay my kindness.  would i take a walk with him, & he would introduce me to his friends?  ok, let’s do it.  i called my home group & asked them to pray.

his name was bruce.  i had met him several times when he would hang around the bus stop outside our house in symonds st auckland, asking for 90 cents for a bus fare.  he was about thirty, had long dishevelled hair & was barefoot.  there was a scar across his cheek & nose.  as we walked that night i noticed he didn’t seem well… his walking pace was getting slower.

he told me he was once the captain of a high school cricket team, & he went to a grammar school (i.e. a ‘posh’ school), he had fallen a long way.  i have no idea if the story was for real.

as he introduced me to his ‘friends’, it became obvious there were no friends.  they were bartenders & drinking buddies.  the more he drank, & they drank, the more the illusion of friendship grew.

i wish i could say this story had a ‘wow’ ending, but no…  

for the next four hours we visited three different bars.  eventually i had to go home, & the last i saw of him he was in tears because he was torn between ‘just one more drink’, and the offer of a place to stay with me.  he chose one more drink.

i never saw bruce again.  he disappeared from the streets, & i don’t know what happened to him.  i don’t know if i had any influence on him.  maybe… maybe not.

but what i do know was he was an influence on me.

i started learning to value broken people, everyone has a story.  this christian kid from the country learnt to relate to people in dark places.  don’t do hit & run evangelism, just be yourself & learn to listen.

the year was 1979 & i was nineteen years old.  for the next few years there were many like bruce…  not alcoholics, but just broken people.  i got a part time job in an all-night ‘uncles’ burger bar in queen st, & my life changed, but that’s another story…

occasionally i think about bruce, & say a little prayer.  where are you now?


About kiwi in perth

god is good. :) really really good. my name is al; god called me to leadership & this is my journey.
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1 Response to i saw him sitting at a newspaper stand…

  1. Stevomayne says:

    Love it bro. Keep up the sharing!! Inspired

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