Met a new friend today while out working on an assignment for a local real estate firm here in Atlanta. I was doing some landscape photography and drone work near the mall when off in the distance I hear a very unfamiliar yankee voice that catches some of my attention.
One thing i have learned over the years is to always be aware of your surroundings. Especially when your flying a $1200 drone and your back is turned to your $2500 camera setup sitting behind you on a tripod. I tried to pay the voice no mind for a while but once the chants of "Hey man what the hell you doing" got louder and closer I decided I should give this person my full attention.
Douglas from Pittsburg was about 4 feet away from me at this point and I could instantly smell that he was having a very long day. I answered to Douglas that I was out flying my drone and just enjoying the summer sunset. His excitement was that of a 5 year old child on their birthday. He immediately wanted to see my monitor and see what I had accomplished so far with the drone. We talked for 10 minutes about the complexity of drones and photography in general as he watched me maneuver the Phantom through the skies.
"It's your turn" as I passed the controls over to Douglas. Just as any excited child would Douglas proceed to take off his backpack, turned his hat backwards, adjusted his eyewear and sat down as to notify me that the drone was going be in good hands.
As Douglas was flying I asked him a few general questions about his self. I quickly learned that Douglas was having a very rough two weeks. He told me about his 7 month old child and about the tough times him and his pregnant girlfriend were working through. He also told me the story of how he left Pittsburgh a few weeks ago in order to get to Atlanta so he could be with his lady and son. Upon arrival to the home in which his son and girlfriend were living, he was not welcomed by the rest of his girlfriends family. Douglas said he was told not to come around them anymore until he could get stable enough to take care of them on his own. Thus, leaving him homeless with no money or his family to confide in.
Douglas was living and sleeping on the streets of Atlanta for two weeks looking for work... He told me people that he met on the streets were nice enough to help him eat a few meals but couldn't come up with enough money for shelter.
I instantly felt sorry for my new friend and start thanking of ways that I could help him out in his time of need. Before I could even suggest anything Douglas was passing the controls of the drone back to me and smiling from ear to ear. "My new job starts on Sunday," was the next sentence out of his mouth. Shocked and proud i was when he told me the great news.
I insisted that Chef Douglas let me take his portrait! I told Douglas that one day I will be mailing this portrait back to him asking for his autograph because he will be so famous from his cooking endeavors.
I wished Douglas the best of luck with his new career and family circumstance as he disappeared into the masses of the mall parking lot.
The interaction between Douglas and I made me more thankful for the opportunities and blessing I have. While I thought I was going to be helping Douglas he was actually helping me become more thankful!
We often get down on ourselves and start to complain about our misfortunes, or complain about what we don't have. When we really should be gracious of what is right in front of us!