I passed a dirty old man with his dog, sitting on the street, a million times on my way home from work. I never dropped spare change in his cup, but he always smiled at me. He pet his old dog, and never said anything.
I passed a dirty old man a million times, but never REALLY noticed him. I was too busy picking up my dry cleaning, or going to my loft to shower for a theatre engagement. I lived the high life. I had one of "those" jobs a man dreams about. I had it all.
I passed a dirty old man a million times, but I never REALLY saw him. He knew me. He watched my every move...my moods, my ensemble, my shoes, my gait, my jewelry, he knew everything about me.
I passed this dirty old man a million times. I passed him after I lost my job, after I had fallen on hard times. I passed him after my divorce, my psychosis, my endless stream of bad luck and heart break...
Yet, still I never noticed him.
I passed a dirty old man petting his dog, as I ran from the police. I stole a pair of shoes from a local department store, to keep my dirty feet warm. They booked me, and put me in a cell with desperate men. These men derided me, they threatened me, but a dirty old man sitting next to me grabbed my hand and glared at them. He protected me. He looked at me and said, "I'll be right by your side, until you get out." I looked at him and asked, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" He said to me, "Of course you do, you pass me on the street every day."
I said to him, "I never gave you anything." The dirty old man then said to me, "Yes you did sir...You just gave me your hand." I never forgot him for that. He talked to me all night. He stayed with me. He didn't let me down. I never saw him again, even though I combed the streets for him.
I eventually cleaned up. I got a better job. I gained all the money back that I had lost, and more. I never passed a street person ever again, without stopping for conversation, and putting a few bucks in their tin cup or a hat.
I passed a dirty old man on the street today. He was petting his old dog. He recognized me. We smiled at each other.