No costume.

It was a chilly morning, and the usual characters were out in full force on Beach Boulevard as I drove to work. There were a few new faces, too, being that today was Halloween and all.

Teenagers were dressed up and on their way to school. Some adults behind the wheel were in costume, as well. One bus driver was sporting a rainbow-colored wig, and a delivery man had devil horns on his head.

On the sidewalk was a man with a long, flowing red cape behind him. As I came closer to him, a smile came across my face — I couldn’t wait to see what he was, and whether or not I recognized it.

Turns out the guy was homeless. He was dirty, he had a bag of what appeared to be very few belongings, and his red cape was a tattered blanket. I felt ridiculous and sad, and I wondered how many more people would make that same mistake today — then realize what they were actually seeing.

Traffic was moving along steadily, and even if I’d been able to turn around or go somewhere to give him something — food, or…I don’t even know what, I didn’t have anything of the sort on me. I’d need to find a store, go inside, buy things, and then I’d need to find the guy again. As I drove on, I looked in the rearview mirror and he was already long gone in a matter of seconds.

It was a chilly evening as I headed home, and I hoped that others hadn’t mistaken him for someone in costume the way I had earlier this morning. And even if nobody stopped to lend a hand all day, I was grateful for the blanket he carried, and hoped that it would provide enough warmth through the night to get him to a day where costumes weren’t expected, and where perhaps a little help could be secured.

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