“Mr. Scott, tell everyone I am doing good and the Lord blessed me,” he said. “I have a job,” he told me on the phone.
You may recall the photo I took of Daniel about one week ago. He was the man we found living on a bench behind the Department of Human Services office in downtown Nashville. He is now living in a motel and calls it his very own apartment. He paid for it with his disability money, which he will have enough to cover a total of two weeks. His new job means his first paycheck will land in his account in exactly two weeks, which should cover the cost of another two weeks at the motel.
When I visited him on Sunday, a few friends and I bought him a grocery cart full of food that we let him pick out. Aisle by aisle he said, “I’ll get whatever you think I should have – I’m just so thankful because no one has ever done this for me before.” We wanted to make sure that he smelled good for his new job too, so we were sure to buy deodorant, aftershave, shampoo and a razor and shaving cream.
Before leaving the store we bought bread, sandwich meat and condiments for a homeless man sitting on the curb in front of the grocery store. I said, “Daniel, this is for him [pointing while holding the bag up] – you give it to him.” Daniel walked it over and shook the man’s hand and smiled from ear to ear. “How did that feel,” I asked? “Oh, it felt great – just blessing others because I have blessings,” he said with confidence.
What you don’t know about Daniel is quite intense. At age 10 he was raped by a male family member. He still battles with the thoughts of that happening today. That family member was never arrested nor investigated, according to Daniel. He was also raped as an adult when he was in his thirties multiple times. His mother, whom he lived with, then died and he was on the streets from that point on. While in his forties and living on the streets he was attacked not only inside the Nashville Rescue Mission, but also on the streets of Davidson County.
As a child, Daniel spent his days in special education classes. His I.Q. is 65. According to the American Association on Mental Retardation, Daniel would be classified as having a mild mental retardation. The organization claims that he can acquire academic skills up to a 6th grade level and in some cases live independently with community and social support. However, he lacks both.
The question now: Can someone help Daniel find counseling services in Nashville at no cost? He is currently receiving help through a state contracted counseling office, but that has proved to be an utter failure for Daniel. He needs serious therapy as he also battles schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Daniel told me he has been without his medication for two months. He will be seeing his regular doctor this week to get back on the needed medications, but counseling to deal with the rapes is priority.