"These Boots were Made For Walkin'"
Sometime in my junior year of college I was riding the bus from Nashville to Memphis. When I buy Greyhound tickets I often completely fail to take adequate note of the departure times. More than once I've been surprised to find out that I leave at 10pm, not am.
This trip was one of those times. For some reason I had thought that a 5 am bus would be totally ok. I didn't remember how scary Greyhound stations are. I didn't realize I would be riding a taxi at 4 am to said scary Greyhound station. Alone. In the cold.
I get to the station, curse my stupidity, and find a seat. The station was empty, because no one wants to be at the bus station at 4 am. Well, no one was there except for me and an old, short little man. This man seemed to be walking in a big circle around the building. He'd start on the left side and slowly saunter through the chairs, looking at me upon occasion. Then he'd exit the building on the right side and disappear for a bit. About 5 minutes later he'd enter again on the left and re-do the whole routine. I really had nothing better to do than watch him.
About the third cycle he stopped at my chair, flooding me with the smell of booze. He leaned in and handed me 2 old dollar bills, saying absolutely nothing. Nothing. He just looked, handed over the money, and then started to move away as I tried to give him the cash back. I had no idea why he had given me this money. I thought maybe he wanted me to keep it safe for him while he walked, so I just kept it in my hand while he walked away. He exited the door, and disappeared. I'm just going to keep these in plain sight, in case he forgets he has given these to me, I thought. He is bound to come back.
Yep, sure enough he reappeared at the other door shortly and started through the room again. As he walked over, I made eye contact and smiled in hopes that he'd come and take the money back. Yes, he is walking over! He is gonna take these back and...shit. He walked over, looked at me and then jams MORE money in my hand. Another $15, to be precise.
"Really, I can't take this...you will probably want this later," I pleaded with him, getting a little concerned with the situation. Oh god, I hope he doesn't think I'm a hooker.
"Shweetie, you shtake it. Yous can do more wish it than me." He slurred while pushing my hand and the money away.
"No, I thin-"
"No, shtake it! When you gets where you are going, you go to the shtore. And buy boots. And you shing that song. The one about walking!"
"You....you want me to sing...These Boots Are Made for Walking?"
He nodded, smiled happily, and lurched off again. Dumbfounded, I stared at the money and wondered how pathetic I must look. I mean, I knew it was 4 am and I had hardly slept. I had rolled into the bus station wearing dirty gym pants and I couldn't remember if I had brushed my hair. But even with all that, did I really look so pitiful that a drunk, and most likely homeless, man would feel the need to give me money? Jesus. I must need a shower.
Let's be real here - I have a strong suspicion this was all of the money he had. Every cent. And he decided that the image of me singing a kick ass girl anthem and strutting my stuff was worth giving it all away. Damn, I still don't know if I should laugh or cry about it. My life: a series of low-rent Hallmark movies at the Greyhound Station.
Sadly, I soon had to board the bus and I was gone before the man made another circuit into the building. I kept the money though, and didn't spend it. It didn't feel right to spend that money without either buying boots or passing it on to someone else. And I never did find a pair of $17 boots. So I just kept the money for months, feeling guilty. I ended up donating it; I hope he would accept that as an adequate trade. If not, I guess I owe him $17 and a song.
tl;dr: In Soviet Russia, hobo donate to you.