Earlier today I met Robin Williams. No, not the comedian. I met a smart and funny woman of the same name who just happens to be homeless. I’ve seen her around Alexandria before and said hello, but today was the first day I had a conversation with Robin. While I was on my way to pick up a few items at the grocery store I saw her napping in the sun on the sidewalk. So, as I picked up lunch and snacks for me at the store, I decided to pick some up something for her as well.
When I walked by her on my return trip home she was awake. I told her I had a gift for her and gave her lemonade and some chocolate. She seemed to appreciate the gesture. I have no idea if she even likes chocolate and lemonade–I hope she does. We chatted briefly and she told me she was a writer and would perhaps one day write some poetry for me. I was deeply touched and promised to bring her a notepad and pen the next time I saw her. I intend to keep this promise.
As I walked the rest of the way home I was a little teary and realized that if I am ever going to make it from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco I am going to have to realize that people are inherently tough and resourceful. She is not looking for a handout, just a kind gesture and a friendly chat. Yes, her life is probably hard. But she was the one sitting on the sidewalk smiling while I was the one walking away feeling sad.