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The Man in the Yellow Raincoat

Note: This is a piece written by my old college roommate Robert San Juan. May everyone have compassion.

So I was on the train going to work this morning and I was sitting behind this gentleman in a yellow raincoat. I wouldn’t say he was one of the many homeless that jump on the train to keep warm, but I will say he looked down on his luck.

He looked to be over 60, with glasses, a moustache and a dirty baseball cap. He was filling out a work application for some random burger joint that I had never heard of. In the space that was labeled “Where did you hear about us?” he wrote “craigslist” and dotted the “I” with a hollow circle.

Out of his worn bag he then pulled out 3 worn pieces of notebook paper. Those three pieces of paper were entirely covered in the same tiny handwritten scrawl, the i’s all dotted with circles. There was not an empty space left anywhere on the pages. There was writing cross-ways, up the sides, running horizontally and vertically. It looked like a prop from the movie “A Beautiful Mind”… and my first reaction to those pages was “oh no… I bet he’s crazy”. There were barely any spaces between the words making the handwriting almost illegible. ALMOST illegible.

As we rode the train together, he pulled the pages closer to his face so he could read them better, and in effect pulling it closer to me (And yes I did ashamedly invade his privacy by reading over his shoulder). As I studied the pages along with him I realized that every single “entry” on the page was information about jobs… managerial contacts… phone numbers… addresses… websites… URLs… he was really… REALLY looking for a job… somewhere, he had been lucky enough to gain access to a computer and had hand written all of this information on these three pieces of paper in his search for a job…

I found myself feeling severely ashamed that I had so quickly judged him… I felt angry that this man, that so badly wanted a job and wanted to work, did not have one… and I felt sad that I did not have a job to offer him… I wanted to ask him what sort of job he was looking for, thinking I might be able to help him… but was conflicted in that I would have to admit that I had been snooping over his shoulder, or that I might offend his pride in doing so. Before I could make up my lazy, self centered mind, he was up and off the train before I realized it.

So all I have for him now, this man in the yellow raincoat, is prayer. I’m praying for him. Praying that he was getting off the train for a job interview and will be employed very soon… I also have my ability to request prayers for him on his behalf, from those that are believers in prayer… so please pray for him, and all those like him that are searching so hard to provide for themselves and those that they love.

To the man in the yellow raincoat… thank you. Thank you for putting a little more perspective to my day. And I hope you are blessed with more than what you were ever looking for.

Christ's Mission, Compassion, Prayer

5 Comments to “The Man in the Yellow Raincoat”

  1. My prayer for him is that his life will be changed by Christ just like the homeless man with the awesome radio voice (Ted Williams) was. Always remember that we can step in with our spiritual swords and take a stance in prayer for others! God Bless You and your family!

  2. Brian – thanks for re-posting Robbie’s story.

    Dear God, Please surround the man in the yellow raincoat with your grace, peace and mercy. Whatever his circumstance we trust you to meet his needs. God, for the rest of us we pray your eyes when we see others that appear “down on their luck”. You look beyond appearance, I pray we do the same. I confess that there are times all I see is a person’s appearance and not the person. Amen.

  3. Pamela sue Porter

    you know what is so neat about prayer, is the fact that you can pray for any one at any time, and just use a few words and the thoughts are already known by God….God, the man in the yellow rain coat. Please bless the man in the rain, and I hope he finds just all that he is looking for!!!

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