Lunch With George


For this week’s GetGIVIN I had lunch with George.  George is 51 years old and from Syracuse, NY.  Due to a house fire he has been homeless and living on the streets for over a year now.  He is passionate about hunting and cooking.  As a kid he used to head out and hunt with his father on a regular basis.  His dream is to become a chef on a cruise ship so he can cook and travel. He has many skills and is able to plumb, hang sheetrock, lay flooring etc, but no one will hire him due to a few situations that occurred over 30 years ago.  George was extremely honest and open about his life and I learned some amazing things today.

Below are a few points that really hit home for me: 

I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning, it has been well over a day and even when I did all I had was a bag of chips and a banana.  It can feel like your stomach is touching your backbone at times.

I have been standing on this same corner for over 25 weeks now.  Everyday I can smell all the amazing flavors pouring out of this restaurant and no one has ever asked me to have lunch here.

I live in a tent right now with my dog.  Sometimes when it gets too cold out i’ll let my dog sleep in the tent instead.  On days where I can make enough money, say $50 to $60 i’ll buy a cheap hotel room so I can get some warmth for the night.

I don’t go to church but every night I say a prayer.  I asked him what he prays for and he said, I pray for how blessed I am, blessed that I can see, blessed that I can walk and most importantly blessed that I’m still alive.

I save all the bottles I see, not for myself but there is anther guy who walks around the city with a shopping cart collecting bottles so I give them to him.

I accept everything.  Food, money, clothes.  I know that every little bit helps.  If I can make a penny today, two tomorrow and three the next then I am moving in the right direction, multiplying money.

When I do make a dollar I don’t hide it.  He talked about what he calls “divide don’t hide.”  Even though he doesn’t have a lot, if someone comes up to him and asks for money he always gives them something because he knows they need the help too.

I am a firm believer in karma, my father would always preach that you must treat people the way you want to be treated, whats goes around comes around.  That’s why, despite his current situation he is still willing to help others because this is how he would like to be treated in return.

I didn’t choose to be homeless, no one chooses to be homeless and no one wants to be homeless.  I don’t blame anyone for anything I have done in my life or where I am at right now.  This is how things are so I need to make the most of each and everyday. I don’t look to yesterday, I don’t look to tomorrow, I just focus on today.  George is the second person who has said, “you have no idea what can happen, I could walk across the street to the next corner and get hit by a car and that’s it.”

These are just a few takeaways from today’s lunch. As I walked across the city of Syracuse enjoying the beautiful sun and the fact that it was actually above freezing, I came across a sign that read; homeless, hungry, any help! Seeing that sign and listening to George’s words made me take a step back and really appreciate the things I have in my life.  Not materialistic possessions but things that often get over looked.  A roof over my head, shoes on my feet, a warm meal on the table and a nice pillow to rest my head on at night. These simple things are of extreme importance, especially when you don’t have them. Take a second today and think about the things that really matter.  What do we really need in life? How can you do your part and give back? No act of kindness is to small, lend a helping hand, share a smile, make someone laugh, take the initiative, GetLIVIN!



  1. Wow. This blog post stopped me in my tracks. I feel like George just taught me so much and I never even met the guy. My heart goes out for him …at the same time, I am incredibly inspired by his strength and positive outlook on life.


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