On my drunken walk home from the bars last night, I happened to stumble across a homeless man, who now holds the honor of “the most interesting man in the world” in my heart. Mike(his name) asked me for some change, and I told him to tell me his story before I gave him any money(I make a habit of asking people their stories before I give them money, because I feel conversation is far more important then any dollar could ever be). He said of course, and added, “You know, if I dont speak to people, I sometimes go weeks without anyone even looking at me. When did people forget the power of a smile?” Truth. Whenever I walk, I always look people in the eyes as I pass them. I dont understand why people look at the floor or their phone when passing a stranger on the street, people are far more interesting to look at then phones, or grounds. Not often do people’s eyes meet mine, its funny how hard people actually try to ignore eye contact.

Mike was in his mid 50′s, and it was easy to tell that life had shit kicked him quite a few times. He proceeded to tell me how he use to live in the suburbs of Seattle up until he was about 30. He had a lovely home, a lovely wife, and 2 lovely kids. He worked at the docks of seattle as a longshoreman. It was around 30 that his mind started to slip from him, and paranoia became a controlling factor in his life. He could no longer be in small rooms for too long, the walls felt like they were swallowing him alive. Mike said his bitch of a wife(he didnt call her a bitch, because he was far too nice, but i’ll call her a bitch because thats what she is) left him in less then 3 months into his condition, saying that he was no longer the fun and caring man she fell in love with. All lies of course, but so many can not handle “burdens”, even if they are small burdens caused by loved ones. She won the kids, claiming that he was unfit to care for anyone but himself(side story; mike found out that both of his kids left her before they were 18 because they couldnt handle the burden of living with a bitch), took more then half his money, and the house. The people at his job loved Mike, but they soon to left him in the dust because his safety was a risk with the panic attacks he would have.

Mike told me he took it all in stride, and it gave him a chance to travel which he always wanted to do. I asked him how he could control his anger at the world, and he said to me, “I could have been angry, very easily. Holding anger is like holding a fire; you will never really catch it, there is no point to it, and in the end you are the only one that gets burned. If anger could somehow help me get to happiness, I would take her hand in a minute. But it never really does.” I have a hard time with anger and stress, and those words of his, I needed to hear very badly.

Mike said he traveled all over the US, then went to South America and traveled all around their, with minimal money and doing odd jobs for anyone that would take him. He said it took him almost 3 months to actually get to South America after he had decided to go there. I asked him how he dealt with the slowness of his movements, and how he approached patience. He said, ” You ever think about eating a burger, a really tasty burger? You drive over to it, thinking about it all the way, almost tasting it in your mouth before even eating it.. then when you finally do have it, you eat it in under a minute, enjoy the shit out of it, then move on with your life. Now think of how wonderful it is, for a man like me, to have that burger sitting at the top of a very tall mountain, and me having no climbing gear. I wake up, and think about that burger, I go to sleep and dream about that burger. That burger, drives me. I know one day I will eat that burger, and that burger, will be the most wonderful meal in my entire life.”

He continued to tell me how he lived in the woods out in the middle of nowhere for a while, some of the happiest times of his life. But said he had to leave, because he once fell into a steep ravine and broke his leg, and literally had to crawl for days to get to civilization. Being a man who never relied on anything in his life, he said the feeling of helplessness really affected his mind in the worst way. He told me that he would probably return to the woods sooner or later, but enjoyed the show of humans too much at the moment.

We continued to talk about all sorts of things, and this man approached everything with a calm heart, and a love so pure that my heart was crying tears of joy knowing that people like that exist in our world. Near the end of our talk, I told him that I wanted to buy him a hotel room for the night, to which he said no. I insisted that it would be my honor to offer a gesture of kindness to him, and again he said no, adding, “Why would I need to stay in a hotel room when the world has already given me room? The greatest thing about the earth is how happily she gives, and never asks for anything in return.” I kept insisting that I would like to do something for him, buy him food or supplies, or sometthing. He kept telling me that if his life needed something, it would find its way to him sooner or later. After some more insisting, he finally caved in and said, “Instead of buying me a hotel room or supplies or anything…you know, I use to play carnival games with my kids all the time. It was our favorite thing to do. I havent played any sorts of those games in more then a decade.” Mike and I walked a few blocks away to the gameworks, and played games and enjoyed each others company until the place closed and told us to leave.

Not once did this man stop smiling the entire time I knew him, and even laughed at my jokes that I knew werent that funny. Dont judge people, you never know the misfortunes that bring them to today.

Made popular on: 
Fri, 08/31/2012 - 1:14pm


Sat, 08/25/2012 - 10:22pm
Fri, 08/31/2012 - 12:17pm
EvilMonkey Says:

TO ANYONE WHO COMPLAINS ABOUT THIS NOT BEING A HIGHDEA, YOU'RE RIGHT, IT'S BETTER! Not often do I come across something like this, a little reminder of the true beauty of life, and it's inhabitants.

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 10:02pm

I only downvoted because caps make my reading voice yell and I don't like that

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:02pm
og3nitch Says:
Sat, 09/01/2012 - 12:56am

on a side note if anyone complains ill wreck them. seriously this is yoinkie. you dont fuck with yoinkie. this man knows what the fuck is up. this is a highdea. it was an idea to actually ask this man his story rather than just giving him the money and moving on.

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 10:22pm

Yeah man, Yoinkie's the Bees'Knees, the KatzPajamas, the Icing on the Cake that is highDEAS, This site would not be the same if he stopped or quit the site.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 10:42pm

dude thats amazing did you ever see the man again? if so did you guys go play games or anything?

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 6:58pm

Society views Mike as a failure. Someone who wasted their life. But this story shows that his life is definitely not a waste. Thanks for the story man.

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 8:25pm
Dwait Says:

We have the same opinions/outlooks on a lot of things, man. I feel like if we sat down and smoked a bowl, we would talk for hours and hours. Great story & great message.

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 9:51pm

I hear you on how people don't want to look at you or anything. Today I was at a car repair shop waiting for my vehicle and 5 other people came and sat down and immediately play with their phones for the entire time they were there. All I wanted was to talk to someone and learn things and hear stories they had to tell.

Thu, 08/30/2012 - 7:29pm

what a story yoinkie, thank you. if you ever get the chance to see him again, tell him a stranger from Rhode Island loves and appreciates him. his character and attitude towards life is something to truely admire.

Sat, 09/15/2012 - 4:15pm
Fri, 11/09/2012 - 1:23pm
Fri, 08/31/2012 - 8:10am

I read a lot of highdeas in the morning because i feel like my mind isnt jumbled with the bs from the day yet so I can process my thoughts more quickly and easily formulate opinions and dissect information. And when I'm lucky enough to read something like this in the morning, I know its going to be a good day. Reading this i felt this wave of positivity and hope come over that I can't really explain. It was almost like the universe giving me a hug and whispering "see it all works out." I have so many thoughts going on up there after reading this that I need some time to organize them. For now I'll just say thank you for this man. I sincerely mean it.

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:48am

Beautiful Story! I'm from Seattle so I could picture how this whole thing went! You did a good thing! I'm glad that you didn't just walk by him like the seagull shit the everyone trys to ignore.

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:18pm

Seattle represent! Also,yes, lots of homeless people.

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:58am
D-man-C Says:

That's some 127 hours shit with the broken leg

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 12:54pm
ytxz5 Says:

Man that was one of the saddest and most up lifting stories i have read in a long time! thank you for sharing this with us!!!!!

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 1:53pm
diggy17 Says:
Fri, 08/31/2012 - 5:45pm

This is an amazing story. I always wonder what the people on the streets have been through. Its awesome to know that not only is there people out there who have the right idea of talking to strangers in need and that there are people who are willing to just share their stories and appreciate life no matter how its turned out. I want to meet someone like that one day :)

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 5:54pm
budsofdank Says:

I want to smoke with this man, in hopes that, maybe, he can teach me how he came to enlightenment.. such peace and tranquility. Death would be painless. There would be no sorrow, no tears. The insight into life and the universe, the flow of nature, and your purpose in this universe. A special few have this gift. this is the road to enlightment.

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 6:00pm
Fri, 08/31/2012 - 6:41pm
Crahnick Says:
Fri, 08/31/2012 - 8:16pm
PlurDucky Says:

Thank you for posting this it was an amazing story and completely changed my view on the less fortunent

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:20pm
l2apsux Says:

Cool story bro. *Means it*. lol, thats why people shoould take the time to get to know people better. but embracing those that are different, is sometimes hard, or out of our comfort zone, i applaud you for such a feat of confidence, as well as for enjoying one of lifes greatest nuances. conversations with strangers can be the most fun youll have all day. glad you had fun!

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 11:36pm

Beautiful story.....thanks. It's good to know there's more people in this world like me. Walking to work a couple weeks ago I say a old lady on her hands and knees in the front yard of a house. I ran over to her thinking she fell, but she said she was fine. She was just feeling how soft the grass was. (it didn't rain in WI for like a month everyones lawn was shit brown and dry but this one house on the block watered it EVERY day) She asked me if I wanted to lay down in the grass with her. Without hesitation I took my backpack off and we layed in some strangers lawn talking for about 10 min. She was a 87 year old Irish who went for a walk cuz she was mad at her husband for not letting her water her grass. I'm high every morning I walk to work but no weed can ever give me the high I felt for taking 10 min out of my day just to talk to some old crazy lovely lady.

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 12:46am
Sat, 09/01/2012 - 1:08am

Instantly after reading this HighDEA I wanted to share it with everyone.

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 3:37am
_Maria_ Says:

This is like the greatest thing I have ever read..

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 4:21am
Jaella Says:
Sat, 09/01/2012 - 1:46pm
yoinkie Says:

Well, I'm not 14 years old and I'm not a bitch. I can handle my booze like an adult and don't ever drink to black out, just get a good buzz on. But hey thanks for your input, while everyone else was getting a message out of this, you were sitting there questioning the drinking abilities of a stranger and making assumptions.

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 9:25pm
thoughts Says:
Sat, 09/01/2012 - 11:11am

This made my day a little better, honestly. I've shared this to my Facebook page, just to help get this story out a little more.

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 2:15pm
Sat, 09/01/2012 - 2:17pm
ausky Says:

i live in seattle and nice story dude

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 3:35pm

This is seriously the most uplifting story ive ever read thank you for this post man

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 7:41pm
lil_hood Says:

I actually have an Uncle named Mike who was homeless for more than 20 years. I get so tired of people making fun of "hobos" and saying "they only use that money for drugs or alcohol" and completely passing homeless people by. A few years back, a couple teenagers beat my uncle and nearly killed him..just because. Hearing anything about homeless people usually breaks my heart, but this story made me very happy to know that there are people out there who take the time to listen and care.

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 10:13pm
Mon, 09/03/2012 - 2:16am

Holy shit I read all that nice story man and a bit sad:)

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 8:43pm

Sometimes fate brings people together for a reason, like you and Mike for instance. His story was meant to be heard, and you were meant to hear it so it could be shared with us. I don't pity the man, you make him out to be okay with the life given to him, so all I have is respect for him. And for you too man, there's only a few people out there who really do care about the lonely guy on the side of the road. If we all could trade a dollar for a life story the world wouldn't be so ignorant to realities such as these. Thanks for the story dude.

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 8:56pm
gatty420 Says:

then you and Mike are incredible human beings, you for appreciating the power of a smile, likeso man cannot and him for knowing the power of one. thank you for being human beings:)

Wed, 09/05/2012 - 10:35am
Purpnstuff Says:

Dude i've never noticed how many people really do that on the sidewalk, assholes. But that was a great story man, a huge eye opener for me personally. thanks for that

Wed, 09/05/2012 - 3:35pm
boulderite Says:
Thu, 09/06/2012 - 1:53am
lb12345 Says:

Seriously so awesome. I would love to shake that man's hand.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 4:02pm
praesul Says:
Mon, 09/10/2012 - 1:54am
budsofdank Says:

I wanna see you write a college application essay. You could get in anywhere.

Mon, 09/10/2012 - 8:21pm

This is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard this man has my respect and so do you for taking the time to listen to this amazing nice man

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 10:44am
ZPrzy32 Says:

I just created an account on highdeas just to tell you that you are an amazing person and I wish we had more people like you in this society. It is the people like you that give signs of hope to others and there is no way to thank you enough for doing this because it has inspired me to keep doing this. I've done it once before with a homeless man but now I am going to try to do it more and see if I can get any story that will even come close to comparing to Mike's.

Fri, 09/14/2012 - 12:53pm
rock420 Says:

That's amazing I would love to meet you and mike

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 11:27am
dankydavey Says:

Yeah man, that was awesome. I kept reading and I was like I hope he doesn't stop telling more of mikes stories.