Jul 17, 2007

Book Covers...

How many times have you come across the unexpected in your knitting? Well last week when I was out and about – I came a across a man who was crocheting. Yes a man. He was sitting outside the McArthur Bart Station in Oakland and I saw him and thought hmmm….a homeless guy who crochet’s for money. Ok that’s a good idea. I smiled – and said hello and told him that I knit and he said he – if you’re a knitter you should have your needles with you! But of course I did – what other reason is there to carry a big purse. He then explained that he can’t knit but would be happy to teach me anytime how to crochet.

I started to walk away and get back to my travels and then decided – I want to learn something new today. I wasn’t hesitant to sit and crochet with a stranger because of the smile he had on his face and the people he spoke to while he was making a hat.

The truth of the matter is – he like everyone else has had some tough times. He had a period in his life where he wanted to jump out of the rat race and just be anonymous. He said that his grandmother had given him a Bible and told him he needed to go to church. Well – he ignored her plea – but kept the Bible. He dropped out of sight for about three to four months and his family was crazy with worry about him. As it happens on Bart sometimes – there are incidents on the train that news crews happen to show up. His sister’s saw him on the news and were thrilled that he was alive.

Anyway – he said his life started to turn around because he picked up the Bible his granny had given to him and read it cover to cover (thank God for praying grandmothers). He also said three to four months ago – he could not have cared less about his Bible - nor could you have spoken to him about religion in any shape form or fashion. He now has folks coming to pray with him, have Bible study with him and just give him a kind word.

There was a bus driver there when I met him and after he walked away to finish his route, Rick told me that the bus driver walked up to him one day and said – you will make 200 hats this week…don’t worry about where the yarn is going to come from. He said Nicol – do you know that I made 500 hats that week and the yarn just kept pouring in from all kinds of people.

Turns out – he’s not homeless (didn’t Mom tell you not to judge a book by its cover?). He decided this is what he wants to do. Crochet hats for a living. He is self taught and has in the last three years created over 5,000 hats. He’s donated some to the Oakland’s Children’s Hospital to the kids in the cancer ward. He’s given to mothers who have lots of children but need warm hats for the winter. A kind hearted soul.

During the time I spent learning how to crochet – about 10 or so people got off the train and said hello, said I will be back for my hats, or placed an order with him. The longer I sat there – the more I knew I’d made a good judgment call stopping to get a free crochet lesson. By the way – he crochet’s one hat every hour. He’s there everyday and would be happy to teach you how to crochet if you ask. By the way - if you stop by there – tell my new friend Rick I said hello. (Oh yeah – I had my son take two boxes of yarn to him in exchange for my free lesson)


Using-her-gift said...

Indeed you can't judge a book by its cover.

Nichole said...

what a great story!

hakucho said...

Good thing you stopped and took the time to find out more. Most people would have just walked by and not looked back. What a wonderful way to learn to crochet from such a nice man! You will never forget that day :) Thanks for such a nice story!

beanchild said...

hella cool story! good for him!!

Psyched2Knit said...

What an incredible story. How great that you took the time to get to know him. It sounds like you really got so much out of the exchange.