My Brother Jack Part 2
A day after I wrote Part 2, my partner and I went ‘Jackspotting’ for the third time that week. It was Friday and we scoured the boundaries we had determined to be his zone of operation. At the last stop, one of the two markets he frequents, we saw his cart parked outside. So we head in and scour the entire ground floor, but no Jack. On our way out, she asks if we should take the escalator to the second floor where washrooms are located and being she doesn’t like riding them said she’d wait in the lobby. A few seconds pass and Jack and I are riding down together. We had forgotten the sleeping bag kit this time so she asked me if I wanted her to go back to my apartment to get it. Of course, yes.
Jack was more communicative than ever while I waited for her to return. I finally got an answer as to where he sleeps – the bank down the street in the ATM vestibule – coincidentally where my drycleaning business used to bank. He commented that people come in throughout the night. But he said it was warm in there. And this made me warm.
There is a great pub style restaurant close to where we were standing and I asked him if he wanted a hamburger. He said no, and pointed to a bag he had that his dinner was in. Then, a large man started climbing the steps to the terrace we were standing on and recognizing Jack was homeless, reached into his pocket and pulled out a massive amount of change to give him. Sweet gesture for sure, but our proud Jack looked sternly in his eyes, and refused. The man tried again, same thing. By this time my partner had arrived with the sleeping bag and caught wind of what was going on. After this giving person’s second offering she kindly told him, “We appreciate your kindness but Jack works hard at his job and doesn’t take handouts.” The man seemed to understand and went on his way with she and I both saying “Bless You” 🙂 Jack happily received the sleeping bag and also allowed us to take some photos. There is one of those in these posts now – none with his face fully shown.
After saying goodbye to Jack we returned to my place and I immediately sent an email to our Member of Parliament informing the office that we had pretty much got Jack’s routine down and that he should be relatively easy to find when the intervention happens. My next move was to up the trust he and I had built and have him share with me his personal information, his formal name and possibly an ID card he might have if he has been in touch with immigration, as two things required for the intervention plan.
A few days later, with a cart piled higher than I had ever seen, Jack was waiting for me outside sitting up against the building across the street in the shade. I asked him if he could do me a favour. He agreed. Would he allow me to help him with immigration and getting a health card? I was over the top joy-filled when he agreed. I ran back into my building and came out with a pad and pen and asked him to write out his full name, which he did, but he continued writing giving me his date and place of birth. He got really communicative at this point and told me he has four children in Canada that he sends money to as well as an uncle in Hamilton. He also had a gift waiting for me – a box of pop tarts and a bottle of Gatorade someone gave him. This time I accepted placing my hand over my heart.
Another week passes and I hear back from my contact at our Member of Parliament’s office (who lives in my neighbourhood) and she came across Jack at the market. She introduced herself and as having worked at the multi-cultural center in this city had the skills to be able to get the rest of the information required to put a plan of action into place! Fingers crossed.
There will obviously be a Part 4 of this story when Jack has received the help he needs which hopefully will include indoor accommodations.
“Compassion is the cure for every global problem.”