I saw him again earlier this week.
The slight, muscular man with a sharply lined face peddled his old bicycle down the street a block from my house. What was different this time was the old, creatively modified golf cart that he had attached to his bike allowing him to haul a huge plastic bag of aluminum cans he had collected from the street.
The determination on his face impressed me as he transported his treasure to the recycle drop off center where he would cash in what he had amassed.
I remember a conversation I had with this gentleman about this time a couple of years ago. I stopped him on the street and invited him to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with us.
"I don't take handouts," he informed me.
I tried to explain that there was no handout involved, just a community meal.
He would hear nothing of it, continuing to insist that he took care of himself and needed no assistance, thank you very much.
As I watched him ride away, I wondered what it would take to provide this gentleman a better opportunity.
His problem is not that he doesn't want to work. It could be that he has limited skills, or he may be dealing with mental illness or addiction (though I doubt the latter), or he may have a criminal record that blocks his full employment.
I don't know.
What I do know is this, we should be doing better by him and with him for our own sakes.
But our system in Texas and Dallas is so limited, so under-developed, so broken, random and thoughtless.
There should be a way, a port for this guy to dock into, not for a handout, but for a chance to move forward.
He is surviving, and better than most, thanks to his creativity and persistence. I wish him well.
I just think he deserves more.