Something is fascinating about him.
His eyes are icy blue. He has a kind and handsome face that is always looking back and forth. His hair is in dreads but matted into a giant mass which is a chestnut colour. Tanned skin that is leathery for his age is only seen on his face and hands. People stare at him since his skin and eyes are in stark contrast to each other. He is about forty but looks much older due to living on the streets.
His name is Pedro.
He has worn the same clothes for years. Whenever my husband Vance and I go to Miami for a vacation, we see him. Pedro is always talking to himself. We have never heard him beg for food or ask for anything. Yet he is about thirty pounds overweight.
I am afraid of Pedro.
He looks unpredictable to me. I am fascinated because I have a son, Kyle, who has autism and I think Pedro may have autism too. One day I finally decide I will grab some food and go talk to him. All by myself, I start walking towards him, but when I am within ten feet of him, he throws something.
Maybe a pebble… I gasp.
Almost chickening out, I take a deep breath.
“God, please give me courage,” I half whisper to myself and to God, then I approach him.
“Hi, how are you?” He immediately shuffles from foot to foot, and his eyes dart all over the place. Pedro is about six-foot-one and 220 lbs.
He could hurt me.
“Good, good,” he mumbles in a garbled voice.
I introduce myself, “I’m Cindy!” I say with a smile.
His hand shoots out quick as lightning, and he offers it to me. We shake hands.
“I’m Pedro.” I think I hear him say.
“Did you say, Pedro?” I ask.
I talk to him a bit more, but he is shuffling back and forth. I can tell this isn’t easy for Pedro. Conversation is hard. Plus he may have been abused by people walking by and doesn’t trust me.
I offer him a bottle of water and a granola bar, which causes him to smile at me. He grabs them quickly, and I see other people have brought him food too.
After a couple more sentences, I say goodbye and walk back to my hotel. My husband and I talk about this man of the streets. Vance remembers walking by him and catching a whiff of years of dirt and grime.
The amazing thing is…I smelled nothing.
Pedro comes to my mind later. He has many autistic traits that my son has: rocking, talking to himself, lack of eye contact, and repeating my words.
God and I talked as I walked…
I thanked him for the kindness of strangers, whom he had sent to feed my son.
For when they had fed Pedro…it was as though they had fed Kyle💗