Dallas man sleeps outside in freezing cold to feel what it’s like to be homeless during historic Texas winter storm
Brad Thomas, 66, dressed in warm clothes, grabbed a few blankets, and lay in his chaise longue on the back patio.
DALLAS – When the snowflakes fell in Texas, Brad Thomas was sitting in his Dallas home wondering what he could do to make a difference.
The former marketing guru for SMU Football from 1978-1983 has always been a keen observer of the human condition.
As a consultant for sports marketing, Thomas receives some external research and development work.
On Saturday night, the 66-year-old put on warm clothes, grabbed a couple of blankets and lay down in his chaise longue on the back terrace.
It was 15 degrees outside.
Thomas slept there from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the historically freezing cold season
“I wanted to feel what you feel,” said Thomas. “It’s not a spectacular achievement.”
Thomas doesn’t want a medal. He didn’t do it for publicity or charity.
He slept outside to find out what the homeless feel every night during that vicious Texas winter storm.
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“When you actually feel it, you feel differently to her,” said Thomas.
Thomas admitted that those seven hours provided more perspective on the homeless experience than anything he had ever experienced before.
“CS Lewis was once quoted as saying, ‘We need to be reminded rather than instructed.’ And I think so, “continued Thomas. “We need to be reminded of this daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Whatever it is. People in need. Places where we can help.”
That’s this story: a memory.
A reminder to think differently. Act differently.
“There are no quick fixes,” said Thomas. “There are no black and white answers.”
There is no easy solution to the homelessness that plagues Texas, the south and the whole country.
Unemployment, poverty, lack of affordable housing, substance abuse and mental health are the most common causes of homelessness.
Creating and supporting organizations that can help alleviate these causes can reduce the homeless population and the plight of those who have lost their way.
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As the land resists the winter chill, we should strive to remove these emotional and mental layers of sensitivity.
We don’t have to play judge or jury for someone based on a cardboard sign.
Homeless people are like snowflakes. They may look similar, but no two are alike. They are unique and complex souls. And we don’t always know where their stories begin.
As the snowflakes continue to fall in Texas, we can all raise a hand to pick them up again.