Monday, July 21, 2014

What I Learned From Cadillac Man

The Arts - Literature ---

It was my co-worker's literature class, and the guest instructor was Cadillac Man.  As far as I know he does not possess a degree or any such thing nor is he a trained educator, but what he underscored for me that day will certainly not be forgotten.  He was homeless and probably still is, though, as far as the latter is concerned, by choice.  He is the author of a book, Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets, a memoir detailing his life as a homeless man in New York City.  His presentation, as he stood leaning on his cane in front of the classroom, was compelling.  The young students and the three adults who were in the room listening to him were hanging on to his every word.  We could listen to him all day.  He shared many things with us, repeating or elaborating on some of the things he shared in his book.  Several of the students asked him questions about the whereabouts of some of the people mentioned in his book, most of whom had died and others with whom he had lost touch.  As I said, he shared many things with us, but the one thing that I brought away from that experience was that which he reminded me of concerning Friendship.  

He told us about his encounter with actor, Richard Gere whom he described as one of the most compassionate person he had ever met.   During that encounter, Richard Gere, concerned about Cadillac Man's situation, asked him whether there were anything he could do for him.  Cadillac Man told us that he thought about the question for a while, then he responded to Mr. Gere saying that all he wanted was for Mr. Gere to be a friend to him.  That response touched me.  It was clear that Richard Gere was making himself materially available to Cadillac, but, instead, Cadillac chose Gere's friendship.  That story certainly said a lot not only about Richard Gere but about Cadillac Man as well.  After meeting and hearing Cadillac Man that day, I decided to purchase a copy of his book.  What an incredible story!  The book is available in both digital and printed format.  I recommend it wholeheartedly.