Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves

My wife has a heart of gold. She is always helping somebody and inevitably, some of them turn around and burn her despite her kindness. After each burn, she’ll say she’ll never help anybody again and a few days later, she’s helping somebody again. Her heart is one of the things I love about her.

We have taken in people who have either been homeless or on the verge of homelessness. Some of them have been addicts or former addicts. Some have been alcoholics. Some have just lied repeatedly and we’ve always given them another chance. Some have stolen from us and we have forgiven them and gave them another chance.

Some of you might consider us foolish, and that’s ok, but for every dozen or so failures, we have somebody who genuinely appreciates our efforts to help them and that makes it all worth it. To see that person move on in life and make a successful recovery means everything to us. It takes a lot of work, money, and patience but it’s worth it to save a life. I owe it all to my wife. She was born with a servant’s heart. I love her for this.

What astounds me is some of the things said by the people we attempt to help. We have heard it all through the years. Here’s an example of a conversation with somebody whom we let stay with us for a year as she was getting her things and leaving. Keep in mind that this person didn’t pay a penny of rent during that year and lied to us repeatedly about her income. She had a job, but we never saw any contribution to our living expenses or food. All we found were 3 full garbage bags of empty beer and wine bottles after she left.

MY WIFE: Aren’t those my towels you’re taking?

HER (the person we tried to help): Like you can’t afford new towels!

Basically, that statement said it all. I often wonder what possesses a person to take ownership over another persons things or money. They feel that because you have some things that it makes you privileged and it’s ok to take those things away from you. It doesn’t matter if you worked hard to afford those things, they still view you as somebody it’s ok to take from.

The other thing that seems to be taken often, even by people who just visit, are our prescriptions. Even though some of the people owned up to stealing these things, they obviously didn’t care that they were stealing something we needed. Our prescriptions are prescribed to us because we have conditions that requires the prescriptions.

I am a disabled veteran and the VA actually takes good care of me. It took over twenty years to get to that point. I do not abuse my medications and only take them as prescribed or needed. When they disappear, I notice. They are easy to miss when you start out with sixty and suddenly you only have six or so. It’s also easy to determine who took them when they have been the only person to visit since the bottle of meds was last opened. My wife or I will always confront them.

US: Did you take our meds?

THEM: I can’t believe you would think I would do something like that!!

US: Well, you were the only one here.

THEM: You probably misplaced them! You guys are always losing things!

US: We didn’t lose the bottle, just the meds that were in the bottle.

THEM: Are you calling me a liar?

Two days later.

THEM: I’m sorry, it was me who took your meds.

US: Can you give what’s left back? We need them.

THEM: No, they’re all gone.

US: You took fifty of them in 2 days?

THEM: I hate that you treat me like a liar! Do you know how that makes me feel? You’re not a very good friend!

US: Look, maybe it’s better if we don’t remain friends.

THEM: Like all of this is my fault? I suppose this means you can’t lend me fifty dollars until payday?

US: You’ve never paid us back from the last three times you borrowed money.


Possible moral of this story? For us, there is none. We just try to learn from every incident. We’re still going to try to help people. It’s in my wife’s nature to do this and I love my wife so it has become my nature as well. She is one of the best people I know and I’m proud to stand with her.


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