Jason like’s to walk!

Go slow with me here. I want to tell a story…

Jason! I shouted. Jason!, I say a little louder… Cupping my hands together and still with more breath I shouted JASON! He now is about twenty feet ahead of my jog up behind him. He suddenly stops and realises that it’s he that I came to see.

Slowly Jason turns around and squints in my direction. A little confused at who I am which I knew was to be expected. It had been months since I saw my friend. My mind flooded back to the few days before Christmas that I found him in very cold wet weather, poorly dressed and desperate for help.

Oh I have known Jason for about 4 years. My first introduction to him was when he busted into the foyer of the church on a Sunday night during service time shouting at the top of his lungs in a tearful voice…”I only want to take a shower!” As if he thought he had just committed the unpardonable sin he quickly turned and darted out the church doors and ran with all his might into the darkness towards the 14th Street Bridge.

I knew then I had found a new friend.

If you go back on my blog you can find the short post I wrote I think it was in December 09 about my evening with Jason and the Christmas tree. He really is a fantastic guy. His only problem is he is mentally ill. Now you have to understand that to me this really isn’t a problem, however, being mentally ill and homeless it can create many many problems.

On this one particular day about 2 months ago Missy and I had been seeing Jason walking up and down Summerville Road. It was a Sunday morning and I thought I would give it a try to stop and see if he would like to go to church. His pants hung low because they were too large for his 6’2″ skinny frame. His shirt was half tucked into his pants and trying to get my words to be heard instead of the funny voices in his head was a 5 minute challenge.

Slowly light began to frame his face as he remembered I was his friend. He almost got into the car that morning but I could see apprehension overtaking him. Or, it could have been one of the voices steering him away from me. Whatever reason he changed his mind. Later I found out that Missy had found Jason on Summerville Road and tried as I to get him to go with her. Didn’t work.

For whatever reason Jason had become the walker. Up twenty-five feet,turn, go back fifty feet, turn go forward ten, turn go back fifteen. There never was a pattern however he did this day after day. If you asked him where he was going he never was able to give a clear answer yet he would mumble something as he continued to walk in his long 6’2″ stride.

Missy’s husband is a Columbus police officer and one night he told her that he had to go down to 2nd Ave to look for a guy named Jason. He had been beaten up but left the emergency room. His family wants to find him and to help him. Missy asked what his last name is. He told her and lo and behold she knew and I knew that Jason wasn’t on Second Avenue, he was on Summerville Road. It was our Jason!

In the past  few months our man Jason has been in the emergency room twice. Both times he was beaten rather badly, Both times his family has wanted to help him but he left before they could get to him.

I know a lot of men on the streets. Many of the guys we have worked with closely the past few years have always taken care of Jason however the past six months many of our men have left the streets for many reasons. One of the men who always kept a close watch on him was Tim. But Tim died this past November. Many many new men are on the streets and there are a few that will beat you, thinking you have money only to find out they beat you for nothing because you’re broke. Please don’t let me find out who they are…OK that’s another story.

I live right off of Summerville Road which is far enough away from the bridge to where I could understand why Jason was staying in that area. He was feeling safe. As suddenly as he came he disappeared again..but wait, who is that guy walking around the park at the top of Summerville Road?

Up twenty feet, turn go back fifteen… same pattern just moved his location.

Again after running up behind him shouting his name I walked back to my car and just watched him. He refused a ride, water and food. He mumbled again that he was going somewhere but again I never could make it out. Yet as I sat there and watched him blend into the fifteen or so walkers I thought about how easily it is for all of us to blend in.

Here he is, in a park and nobody but me knows he hasn’t showered in months, or changed his clothing in that same amount of time. Nobody but me knows he’s hungry, thirsty and tired. Nobody knows that this black curly-haired 6’2″ skinny man is homeless and will no doubt walk until nobody is around before he finds a place to sleep. Nobody here in this park knows I am sitting here watching just him wondering what was I going to do.

He blended into his background and appeared just like every other walker… My gosh I thought to myself about how easy it is to just blend into life and be so so messed up.  I then remembered I was once a lot like Jason. You’ll have to wait until my book gets published before you hear the rest of that story; but first, let me tell you what happened the next day.

Missy and I were able to get a hold of a police officer that had been hunting for Jason. We told the lady officer who actually was working for Jason’s family, that we knew where he was. We had no idea there was a Missing Persons report out for Jason. The family feared he was dead.

The officer got on the phone and contacted his family while we went to locate Jason. In 30 min. Missy was on the phone with the officer who had Jason’s aunt on another line while I was in McDonald’s buying our man a drink and burger.

There’s other details to the ending of this story, too much to explain which would have little meaning. The great news is Jason tonight is getting help. His family knows where he is and he isn’t walking back and forth.

Before I end I want to explain one last detail. I would say you could say it is the detail that we all have in our lives. The detail of why we sometimes behave, act and say some of what we do.

Later that evening Missy spoke to Jason’s aunt who lives in Atlanta and loves this lovable guy very much. She told Missy that Jason has 2 brothers, both mentally ill. One hung himself, the other is still alive and functions well. His grandma was mentally ill and died a homeless woman after being stabbed to death on the streets. Jason’s mom also died, was mentally ill and once was found over top of Jason with a pair of scissors. She thought God was telling her to kill Jason.

Jason’s father is not mentally ill. He is very confused about the outcome of his life. His  crime I suppose is that he fell in love with a mentally ill woman many years ago. One son is dead, his wife now has died, another son must be watched and Jason like’s to walk.

With every face you see in a days time remember this story about Jason. He wants to hurt nobody. He misses his mom he told me once.  The face you see are you really sure your eyes connect to someone who is alright or are those eyes wanting to explain “why I like to walk…” We all can disappear into a crowd but does anyone really want to stay hidden forever?

Our man Jason may make it back out to the streets. If he does Missy and I will make sure he’s OK as we do all of the men. I would miss him but I hope I never see his beautiful face again. His aunt and dad love him very much. It is true, you can’t go back and undo a mess in your life but you can move forward. In Jason’s case, hold onto someone with love and if they decide to walk…go look for them.





2 Responses to “Jason like’s to walk!”

  1. Jason…I don’t think I met him but I’ve heard your stories. One more story to add to the possible successes. Maybe another one off the street. Sleep well tonight, Jason.

  2. Jay I just want to say again you do wonderful work in places that others won’t or can’t for some reason! However your story reminds me of how many people walk around and aren’t homeless but, for one reason or other are lost due to abuse, rejection or just no self worth. I work for Developmental Disiablities and all they want is to be love and love back. One smile or soft touch can make a smile come on their face that you which you could perserve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: