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Angels Among Us: The Man on the Street

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Angels Among Us: The Man on the Street

“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” -Elie Wiesel

I was coming out of the San Francisco Opera one evening, disappointed by the overblown performance that had no spark or inspiration. Wondering how such a huge expensive undertaking could fall so flat. Don’t get me wrong, I adore opera, and the San Francisco Opera is generally wonderful, but this one missed the mark.

I was in the cattle calls of well-dressed people who were all scurrying to their cars,  hoping to get ahead of the rest of the mob. Detained together  at a traffic light, a homeless man moved in and started working the crowd. He was an African American man, thin and wiry and seemed a veteran street hustler working us like a circus barker. He was trying to round us all up telling us he would sing for us to earn his money.

The whole situation was so uncomfortable that it caught my attention. This slick street guy enjoying having the brief upper hand of this well heeled crowd that was trapped at the light, everyone awkwardly trying to pretend he was invisible.

Instead of avoiding his gaze, as I was tempted to do, I looked fully at him and said that I would indeed like to hear him sing and put $20 in his hat. The light turned and the nervous crowd skirted away, leaving my date and I alone with him.  He seemed caught off guard; fully expecting to hustle us but getting pre-paid instead. This was clearly not something  in his usual repertoire.

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Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at www.ericasofrina.com.

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234 comments

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8:05AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

I know this is supposed to be a heart-warming story, but it actually made me feel bad for not acting like the author more often in similar situations.

5:51PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

I've been re-reading many of your stories in this series - Angels Among Us. What a joy they are, very uplifting. I love the line in this story: "How he seemed to transform into a completely different person just by being acknowledged and seen." I think of this often since I read the story a while back. Such a simple thing to acknowledge someone. Thanks again.

12:46PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

A heartwarming story ! What a pity that the majority of us don't take more time to stand and listen.

11:12AM PST on Jan 13, 2013

This is such a wonderful world we live in.

3:20PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

Never close your eyes to the bigger pictures inside the little pictures inside the "big" pictures.

9:53PM PST on Dec 29, 2012

Okay honestly I read this because the cat is sleeping on me and I couldn't get up .
However.. I was totally touched & moved by this post , Thank you so very much .

9:58AM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Awesome story and a real "wake up call" to everyone of us who reads it. A friend of mine use to be an EKG tecn in a hospital - if the nurses were really busy and someone needed a bedpan, she would get it for them and let the nurses know. One night a nurse said, "WHY do you do that? It's not YOUR job..." Her response was, "Who is to say I'm not treating the body of Christ?" They stopped commenting about her help after that!

9:26AM PST on Dec 28, 2012

unfortuantely, matthew's story isn't rare. there are so many people that circumstances have made homeless or jobless. while there are certainly some that are "slick", can you imagine asking/begging people to give you money? my husband thinks i'm gullible but i can't imagine being in any situation where you would feel comfortable asking for help from strangers.

7:41PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

I feel if he had just sang and not tried to pull people in, sang from his heart with this amazing voice people would be drawn to him and he would receive a fee for his wonderful ability. Lets hope he continues to release his gift for others to enjoy and appreciate.It is sad when people lose their way but hopefully they will find their way back and be even stronger for the experience. Something good coming out of the bad. Good on you for persevering and giving him the opportunity to shine. He sounds like a rough diamond that is just waiting to shine a lot more.

3:31AM PST on Dec 22, 2012

this is a beautiful example ,that we need to stop at whatever we are so busy with (running ,rushing all the time ) and enjoy what is offered to us ,what is to be discovered ,the other ,the different ..

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