House Fire

I went by a house on my street that burnt down last night.  I stopped to see if everyone was OK and the man who owned the home started telling me his story.  He said everyone was fine thanks to his dog who barked to wake him up.  When I asked if he had insurance for his house, he said it ran out last year.  He told me that the insurance payment was automatically taken out of his bank and then it stopped one day.  He didn’t realize it right away and when he called to get it started again they needed $2,000 to start the plan again.  He didn’t have that much money.  Because of that he lost everything.  This home was in his family for over 60 years.

Many people in poor areas don’t have a lot of margin in their life.  They usually are fine until something bad happens.  Sometimes they can get out of a bad situation but in cases like this man, he has to start over.  I can’t imagine losing everything because of a small error on my part.  He doesn’t deserve to have everything he has worked for taken away from him.

We all do things wrong, we all mess up.  When I mess up, I feel really stupid but I can usually work or buy my way out of my mishap.  But when you are in poverty or close to the threshold, these small misfortunes can ruin your life.  Most people are trying hard to make it in life and because of where they are brought up or their life circumstances, they never can get ahead. Many people in poverty don’t deserve these misfortunes but can’t find a way to get out of the mess.

I wanted to help the man whose house burned down, but I really don’t know what I can do for him.  I don’t have a place he can rent out, a new refrigerator or a bed for him and his wife.  Really the only thing I can think to do is share his story so people have empathy for him and people who’s margins are so low.