This is Jeffery, but some call him Black Jesus...


This is Jeffery, we’ve met on other occasions and I profiled him once before. Tonight I didn’t see him coming. I was sitting at an outdoor cafe writing when he approached. The patio, which is makeshift on account of the coronavirus, is right on the sidewalk. The only thing creating its imaginary border were thin ropes. My head was down and I was deep in a journal when he approached in his halting voice, “Excuse me sir, can I have some money to get something to eat?” I pulled out two gift cards to different restaurants and asked which he’d prefer. “To be honest, I could use them both if you don’t mind,” so I handed them over. Jeffery also goes by the name, “Black Jesus,” which is how I addressed him this evening. When I spoke to him prior—and that profile can be found at my blog—I asked why he goes by that name and he told me because he was here to save the world. Another time I spoke to him was in the midst of the lock-down and saw him pushing a guy in a wheelchair with one leg down the middle of the street. I asked if I could capture their image but the guy in the chair declined. When I spoke to Jeffry the first time he told me about his homelessness, where he was staying, his mental disability, and his former addictions. Now, he also told me, he is just trying to get by. He has issues and speaking with him it is easy to see why he cannot work. This evening I asked if I could capture his image and he agreed. The way in which he stared into the lens is moving, dignified, intense. I told him so. We chatted for a couple minutes before he parted, but before he did he said, “Bless you, Joe.” I always find it incredibly moving when a person on the street blesses me. I know that may sound arrogant but I don’t mean it that way. Here we were, two guys on the street talking but separated by a thin rope. I was on the “inside” while he was not, but he was blessing me. Thank you Jeffrey (Black Jesus), while I have given you a couple gift cards (which didn’t even belong to me) you in turn have given me so much more. #peopleofbuffalo

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
—Hebrews 13:2

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