Remembering Bruce

After I had moved to Lake Orion from Detroit in 2004, I was surprised to see a homeless man usually sitting on his bike.
I ran into him again, sitting on his bike, in front of the Wine Barrel (?) party store. The owner says he sleeps behind there from time to time.
It was hot and I bought him a water. I introduced myself and he said his name was Bruce. I asked if I could get him something else and he replied “No I’m fine.”
Another time it was about 6 a.m. I was traveling westbound on Clarkston Road coming up to Lapeer Road and there was Bruce dumpster diving behind Jetts Pizza.
I pulled around to say hi. He had pizza sauce in his beard, and I said I was getting breakfast at McDonald’s (I wasn’t) and could I buy him breakfast. He agreed and also requested an orange juice.
We sat and had breakfast together behind Jetts and made small talk, nothing deep.
I always made sure I had a water in my car in case I saw him. In the winter I bought him some warm gloves from Dunham’s after noticing his hands looked raw and lobster red.
Always appreciative, but never begging. I said “Bruce do you need some money?” He replied “No, I’m fine.”
In the real cold winters if I didn’t see him I would ask the Lake Orion police if Bruce was okay and I would be reassured they always made it a point to check on him. How great is that!
Upon reading of his passing I cried. He was a good friend I never really knew.

Jan Kruszewski
Orion Twp.

2 responses to “Remembering Bruce”

  1. We all can learn from the way he lived . I dont want pizza out of the dumpster but wouldnt mind being “fine” more of the time. Simple life, simple needs , simple cares. We’ll miss you Bruce.

  2. I was just reading a story on reddit about the homeless and it made me think of Bruce so I googled him. I’m very sad to hear of his passing, since the last time I looked him up, the community had helped him get an apartment.

    He wasn’t one of the people holding up a sign asking for money but wearing perfectly clean clothes. No, you could just tell Bruce was legit and he even worse a trash bag in the winter to stay warm and dry. I was always happy to see there were people stopping to talk to him and give him food. I stopped a few time to see if he needed anything, he would usually decline and I’d give him $20 anyways so he could get a meal. One time he actually did ask for a new walkman because his had just broke, so I picked one with some batteries at the Kmart. I asked him if he wanted me to try to contact his family, and he declined. I don’t know if he had children. I did ask how he ended up homeless, and he said he was working at one of the shops that had closed down and he wasn’t able to find another job.

    I hope you died peacefully, my friend.

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