Homeless Man – Eternally Changes My Perspective

Just last week I was fortunate enough to attend an event at NAIT. Arlene Dickinson, from CBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ was the guest speaker. She shared all kinds of stories of trial, tribulations & inspiration. There’s much more I could share, but I’m simply setting the scene for my meeting with Jim. You’ll find more about Jim below …

After seeing Arlene Dickinson speak, I joined a few friends for a drink at a comfy wine bar in downtown Edmonton. It was a delightful time as we talked about the normal things … ourselves mostly. What’s going well, what’s not going well, what’s wrong with the world & what everyone’s doing in the upcoming months & years.

We departed just after 11pm and walked to our cars. It was chilly early spring night, which included a brisk wind. As I entered my car a couple blocks north of the wine bar, I looked across the street to see a gentleman sitting on a bench. This gentleman looked to be in his 40’s or 50’s definitely settling in for another night on the streets of Edmonton. At that moment, I realized that in my bag I had a $5 coupon booklet for Tim Horton’s. I’ve been wanting to give this away for many months and this seemed like a great opportunity. I grabbed the booklet, headed across the street and politely said hello. What happened next is something I will remember the rest of my life.

We exchanged brief conversation and I offered him the booklet. He was incredibly thankful, in fact he said ‘thank you’ 4-5 times in the 5 minutes we talked. As I found out name is Jim and he’s from the arctic circle. I jokingly said, “you must find it kind of warm down here”. Jim chuckled and replied. “yeah and you couldn’t pay me $1000/day to visit Mexico”, an obvious reference to his preference for a colder climate. I appreciated his good nature and humour.

He then moved the discussion towards talking about optimism, hope and positive thinking. He didn’t just say the words, he actually live them, I could just tell. It was incredible to see this from someone who is, from all signs completely homeless. As we parted ways and shook hands he, thanked me for me gift (the coupon book) and asked if it was okay that he shared it. I said, “of course, I’ve given it to you and I want you to use it as you please”. He said with excitement, “great, I’ll invite a friend of mine for coffee tomorrow morning”.

As I drove away, I felt quite a bit of guilt. Here I am driving away in viechle that runs great and allows me to get around the city & province to see friends, family and do business. While Jim is confined to where his feet and the bus take him. I’m wearing nice business atire and he’s probably been wearing the same clothes for days if not weeks straight.

Hmmm … I drive home and start getting ready for bed. As I’m brushing colgate toothpaste across me teeth, something hits me like a ton of bricks!

I came to the realization that, if Jim can be optimistic, positive & friendly, that I have all the reason to be all those things too. My goodness, I have a warm place to sleep and a comfortable bed and Jim has a street bench, just across from The Business Link in downtown Edmonton.

In that moment I became incredibly grateful for everything I have (the friends, family, opportunity, food, etc.). It put things into perspective in a big hurry.

I wasn’t complaining about anything the night I met Jim, in fact I felt great. That said, I had a sense that things weren’t 100% incredible, only 95%. The reality is that they are 100% … I just had to get some perspective.

For that I thank Jim for his impact on me.

One last thing about Jim … within 30 seconds Jim and I had trust between us like we’d been friends for 5-10 years. It was amazing.

Here’s to you friend. Jim you’re an incredible human-being! THANK YOU!

Much respect,



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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice work Kyle, welcome to the blogoshere. FINALLY!

  2. Kyle! What a wonderful account of the meaning of love and authentic pleasure!

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Nothing really counts but Kindness in the end 🙂

  3. Fantastic Kyle,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. We have so much in this world, but when it comes down to the basics, only so much of what we have makes us happy. It’s all in our outlook.

    Looking pro my friend! I look forward to more!

  4. hey buddy. Great post. Perspective may be one of the key factors in someones success or lack there of. I think it is great how clear you are about where you want to go, and it sounds like the other night was just another piece of perspective to add to what you already want. I am proud to know you.

  5. Good on you for takin’ your thoughts public, Kyle. Blogging can be a powerful exercise … and you just never know who surfs by and shares it with you (or doesn’t).

    Blog on, good man … blog on!


  6. You are a class act Kyle! Thanks for documenting this event for all of us to share. It’s a true reflection of your character!!

  7. Just as I thought…

    “He’s a lightworker”


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