He was kicked out of community housing and he landed in a shelter; his throat was slashed while he was there. He nearly died. He got better slowly. And not long ago, the good people at Woodgreen found him a new bachelor apartment.
’Tis the season.
She did that.
Leo noted the amount. He, like me, was speechless. And then he dug in his pocket for his shopping list, and off we went.
Now let me tell you something: I don’t know if you have money, a little or a lot of money. But if you have only ever had a little money, then you are not used to spending a lot.
The toasters at the Bay are pricey.
Leo turned away from them. He wanted something cheaper. This was getting complicated. There is — and again, you know this if you don’t have a lot of money — a balancing act when it comes to spending: need versus want, and value versus utility.
I stopped him. I said he could buy any toaster he liked, there was more than enough money on the card to take care of all his needs, why not pick this one, I have one like it at home, it will last you a long time, you’ll use it every day, also, it has this extra nifty function — to make your toast a little browner, you press a little button and it toasts a little more.
He picked it up, reluctantly.
We then looked for a frying pan. Leo said, “I like to cook a pork chop.” We found a pan that was nice, but not so nice that it made him nervous.
The brand: Wilton.
We then went looking for a little microwave. It was the easiest purchase. The cashier took his card.
“Oh, free money, cool.”
It occurred to Leo that he needed a winter jacket, and some jeans, and a couple of shirts. Off we went. He seemed shell-shocked.
The menswear guys were good to him. The coat came easily; it was stylish and affordable. The jeans were, too. And the shirts. And a sweater, nice, red, a cardigan.
Leo knows the Bay has cheaper lines in other stores. He will go looking for plates and glasses and a roasting pan, and an armchair and a TV.
He can afford them now.
To the person who bought him the card he said, carefully, because it had been an emotional day, “I’m extremely grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can’t think of another way to say it.”
Nor can I.