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The Shopping Cart Man


Inspiration for the Novel

Not too many years ago, I retold the story of The Good Samaritan to my kids.  The next day our family went to a fast food restaurant.  While going in, we were approached by an old, homeless man who asked for money.  His request was denied, under the justification that the man was surely just going to buy beer.

However, we were inside eating, we noticed the man enter the restaurant with a homeless lady.  The two ordered a kid's meal and ate it in a manner similar to that described in the book.  I felt like a heel, but also felt paralyzed to offer any aid.  I allowed my personal embarrassment prevent me from buying the couple a real meal.

A couple years later, after listening to the song "Shopping Bag People" by the Climax Blues Band, I pondered the lines "Shopping bag people live a hard, hard life," and "Give me a dollar, give me a lousy dime."  I remembered the experience at the restaurant and agreed with the song.  I wished I had done something more and began to wonder what life would be like if people really did treat the homeless as the Good Samaritan would have.

I wondered what the impact could be for a man lifted from the gutter and pointed toward a better life.  Over the next three days, these musings resulted in a 30-page outline that later gave birth to the novel now known as "The Shopping Cart Man".



I have since found ways of helping homeless individuals in such instances.  The easiest way is to order an additional meal "to go" and give it to the man or woman upon leaving the restaurant.  It's gratifying to see their faces light up.




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©2006, 2012 by Douglas V. Nufer
Last modified: 11/15/12