50.28. The breakfast I wish happened. Meet Anthony.

I have always been moved by a scene in Good Will Hunting. In this film clip, Ben Affleck’s character Chuckie relays to Matt Damon’s character Will how he hopes every morning when he drives to pick him up that he will not be there. Last week I had the opposition situation arise.

I was supposed to meet a client for breakfast last week and he was not there. This client’s name is Anthony. Anthony is almost 40 years old. He was born and raised in Omaha by his single mother. He was the youngest of four children. The family struggled greatly to make ends meet and were frequently chased out of homes by slumlords and neighborhood gangs. When Anthony and I have talked in the past, he tells me how his childhood was still happy despite going to bed hungry. He was not very smart but worked hard in school and is proud to have graduated from Benson High School. Without any idea as to what to do after high school, he worked odd jobs but could not find a steady paycheck.

Tired of struggling, Anthony made the impulsive decision to steal some expensive music equipment. Anthony re-sold the valuable electronics and paid his rent as well as to buy some nicer household goods for himself. Eventually Anthony was arrested for his crime and spent time behind bars. Once he was released, Anthony found many employers were unwilling to hire a person with a criminal record and limited marketable skills. From what I know, Anthony’s life has remained essentially the exact same for the past roughly 15 years. Anthony applies for job after job but is rejected because of either his criminal record or lack of work experience. As such, Anthony makes ends meet by finding work mowing lawns, painting houses, shoveling snow, or performing other temporary/seasonal work. Anthony comes to the Heart Ministry Center often. He asks me all the time what he can do to get a “good job.” He frequently berates himself for making such a stupid mistake as to steal. That said, it is hard for me to understand how a person making a mistake almost 20 years ago can now mean he is unable to take care of his basic necessities.

I wanted to meet with Anthony for breakfast for two purposes. First, I wanted to find out more details about his life so I could include them in the blog. Second and much more importantly, I wanted to see how Anthony was doing and what we could do to really help him. After all, since I have gotten to know Anthony these past four and a half years, he just looks tired. I can tell the stress of not knowing when he will eat again, if he will have a roof over his head that night, and does he have clothes to keep him worn is draining. Consequently, I am very alarmed when Anthony is not at our pre-determined meeting place. Over the past week, I have been extremely worried. In Good Will Hunting, Chuckie was excited when Will is not home. In real life I only wish it was this simple. Right now I just hope Anthony is okay.

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