JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The frozen man

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Ran out to the supermarket tonight to get some corn syrup. There was a man on the sidewalk, ringing his bell for the Salvation Army. He had on a relatively thin jacket, with gloves and a hood. It was 8:23. He told me he had to work until nine.

There were very few people out. I mean, it was freezing. Ten degrees, according to the report. Yet the man refused to go home. He sat there, ringing, ringing, ringing, ringing. “I don’t mind the cold,” he said. “Not that bad.”

I put in $1 and some change, then watched for a few moments. Of the five people who passed him, one gave money. I was amazed. Even if you don’t believe in the Salvation Army, doesn’t the human in you want to give a man standing in 10-degree hell some purpose?

I thought about my job. Laid-back. Joyful.

Then I went home.