Today in downtown San Antonio as I was walking down Houston street and just past the Majestic Theatre I came across Joshua Goodman. He was a young homeless man asking for a few dollars to buy a sandwich at Subway just down the street. I gave $3 that I had in my wallet and Joshua was very grateful. As I continued on my walk I stopped and turned back to him and I said, “There’s no way $3 will buy you a sandwich at Subway.” So I asked him if I could buy him a sandwich at Subway. He couldn’t believe the offer, but he took me up on the offer and we walked to Subway.
There was a long line being about noontime, Josh put his backpack and sleeping bag at a corner table and joined me in line. He seemed excited about getting a meal and I was finally happy to buy it for him. In line, we started to talk. Josh told me he had been homeless for about 4 months and I asked him where he was staying and he told me the street. I said geez, it’s been cold lately has it been tough and he said yeah, freezing at night. My heart just went out to him when he told me all this. Josh ordered his sandwich, I think it was an Italian mix, he ordered chips and soda too. While in line he asked to borrow my phone and right away I handed it to him. He called his mother in Kerrville, TX about two hours up the road. He told her where he was at and sort of an update. Afterwards, I paid up and we headed to our table. There I asked him about a local shelter and right away he said no way, that place is full of thugs, thievery and not a safe place to stay. I wasn’t surprised because I had heard rumors about that place even though a lot of money was invested there.
I asked where he was headed to and Josh told me that he wanted to get to Austin. There he knew of a shelter that can help him find a job and get back on his feet. I asked how he planned to get there and he wasn’t sure. Right away I thought about the Greyhound station just around the corner. I asked what if I buy you a bus ticket to Austin. He was pretty much in shock. Why was this man he just met helping him so much? All I can say I felt called to help him and I was very happy to so. He called his mom back with the good news and she gave him the phone number and address for the shelter in Austin, she too was grateful for my assistance.
So we started to talk more about both our lives. He told me he did some time in Dominguez State Prison southeast of San Antonio. Josh said he served 6 months there for burglary. I was surprised he served time there and not Bexar Count Jail for that crime, but I know Texas justice can be tough.
Then Josh told me about his former girlfriend and how he missed being in a relationship. Right away, I told him I was gay and he said quickly, “I know.” We had a good laugh about that. I told him about my boyfriend Carlos and a bit about our lives. Joshua wanted to know what I did and I told him I had been in advertising and now filmmaking which really intrigued him. I told him I’m way older, 55 years old, he told me that’s not old, I was happy to hear that coming from a 25-year-old.
We shared about our lives for some time and it really felt like I had a new brother in my life. Joshua finished his lunch and so we headed for the Greyhound station about a 15-minute walk away. Of course, we continued to talk all the way there. We arrived at the bus station and now they have an ATM-looking machine to buy tickets. So I bought him a ticket to Austin and we walked to the lobby area.
My heart was pounding because we were going to say goodbye, maybe forever and I was sad. It was close to his bus’ departure and we just looked at each other. We quickly embraced. I whispered in his ear, “I’ll be praying for you.” We pulled back and waved goodbye.
I turned around and left the station and under my breath, I was praying for my new friend Joshua.