Willie, But Unable to Find Work

willieGive a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. -Chinese Proverb
Sunrise to sunset, clattering their cups and holding signs, homeless people line the streets of downtown Indianapolis. People passing by quicken their pace, attempting to evade the discomfort or fear they feel when they see panhandlers.   A few compassionate people will make small donations of money or meals when they walk by. The more cynical observers just wonder, “Why can’t they just get a job?”

But, Lee Willie Nelson (72) of Indianapolis is a working man. He boards the bus each morning and travels downtown, to the Indiana Business Journal’s building, where he has cleaned the parking lot for most of the last seven years. Every day, Nelson arrives early and completes his work, then visits the IBJ’s front desk to collect his check, which serves as the day’s lunch money. It’s a tedious job, but it’s work. That’s all Nelson really wants.

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