Be the Light
Organized by: Jasmin John
EVENT DATE Dec 18, 2015
Hi Everyone! Early November I had an encounter that has had a huge impact on my life. It happened at Penn Station around 8 PM. I had just got off from work and found myself in a dilemma of getting something to eat or to start my 2 hour journey home. Deciding that I would grab a slice of pizza and eat while I walk, I found a place and quickly ordered. I was about to bolt out with my pizza when I noticed an older lady frantically asking where the restroom was located. She was homeless, disheveled and was suffering from kyphosis, an exaggerated rounding of the back, which was such an extreme case that she was unable to lift up her head to see in front of her and could only look at the floor. She was walking around in a circle asking frantically for the restroom, over and over and over again. The man behind the register didn't even glance at her once. No one cared to listen. No one cared. I still remember the pain in her voice as she warned everyone the she was about to have an accident. I decided to help her and asked the man at the register where the bathroom was. Pointing in the direction of the bathroom, I told her where it was. The only issue was that she could barely look up in front of her to see where I was pointing. I ended up walking her over to the restroom planning on leaving her once I showed her where it was, except when we got there I noticed she was too weak to open the door. Once she was in I thought "Finally I can go!" But I couldn't ... I kept thinking that she wouldn't be able to get out and no one would care to help her, just like before. So I waited with my now cold pizza in hand. After 5 minutes of waiting my concern started to build and I found myself thinking "What if she passed out?" or "What if she fell?” When I asked her if she was okay I could only hear a whisper and decided to wait 5 more minutes until I call for more help. While sitting down waiting for her to come out I noticed there was a man waiting for the restroom. Having hope I thought maybe he will help her come out. Unfortunately, I was proven wrong when she finally come out. When struggling to open the heavy door, the guy just stared at her. Once I saw that I ran to the door and pushed it open. I used so much force that I ended up hitting her head that was protruding out because of her back. At that moment I thought she was going to try and sue me, yell and curse me out. Her face was pissed. I automatically apologized and said "I just wanted to make sure you got out okay, I know the door is heavy". At that moment she looked at my face, smiled and said thank you. In that moment I didn't see a homeless woman. I saw an older tired and worn version of my mom who had to struggle to take care of herself after my sister and I were no longer able to be there every day. My heart stopped and when I looked around I didn't just see strangers, I saw everyone in my life. The guy standing next to me wasn't just some guy; he was someone's lover, best friend and brother. In that moment I made a commitment to myself to listen to the people around me and to help those who are in need because these strangers are not just another stranger’s family, they are my family too.
My name is Jasmin. I am 24 and I have a vision to spread love and compassion throughout the streets of NYC. 'Be the Light' is a fundraiser put together to show the homeless, who have lost everything, that they are not alone. To give them the priceless gift of hope, life and love. Together we can help the homeless survive the harsh winter that is approaching and show them that there are hands to grab and hold onto when they need support.'Be the light' is not just giving supplies and food, but about giving them our time. Listening to their hearts and feeling their pain.
Please support me in raising money to create a warm meal, buy winter supplies (hats, scarves, blankets, etc.) and to give them the gift of light, a candle. This gift of a candle is not just to keep them warm, but to show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and to hold on.
If you are interested in sharing stories please reach out to me! I have started my journey and have met some truly heart-warming people.