My boyfriend and I are on a very long road trip, as I am moving from my hometown in Connecticut to live with him in Oklahoma. One night we stop at a gas station to refuel and use the restroom.
There’s a very disheveled man in the little (closed) restaurant area of the station. When we come through the doors he gets up and starts talking to us, and being a very anxious person it makes me a little uncomfortable. My boyfriend just tells me to go to the bathroom, so I do.
When I come out, my boyfriend is sitting in a booth with the man, who is happily talking to him about nothing in particular. He is clearly not all there mentally, but harmless; he just doesn’t have anywhere to go. When I come to the booth he is very excitedly talking to my boyfriend about his boots.
My boyfriend chats with him for a while, but tells him we have to get going. He looks sad — my boyfriend was probably the first person to actually engage him in conversation for a while — until my boyfriend hands him a fifty and tells him to get something to eat and maybe a place to stay for the night. The man looks about to cry, he is so happy.
If I had any doubts about moving halfway across the country for that man, that pretty much banished them all.
He’s since started working in juvenile mental health, and is the favorite staff of a lot of troubled kids.