The International House of Pancakes is open all night. I know a man who goes there every night. He goes there to get off the street. He goes there for warmth. He goes there to not be alone.
He does not sleep there. He sleeps in the university library during the day, in a study carrel. He has a routine.
I don’t know where he showers. Maybe at the university gym. I never asked.
He has made friends with the staff at IHOP. He helps mop the floor. In exchange, he gets coffee and soft drinks. He might get pancakes too. They probably should not officially allow this. Maybe management looks the other way. Out of kindness, I suppose. Maybe management does know about the arrangement.
The man does not want to go to the homeless shelter. He told me that he does not like to be around the people there. He likes to be around the people at IHOP.
I was his lawyer. Since he did not have an address or cell phone, I would go to IHOP when I needed to contact him to inform him of a hearing date or to come to my office to meet about his case.. My wife, Sugar, and I would go for supper there and tell our server to give an envelope to him when he came in later. The server always cooperated. They all knew him and said they would give him the envelope. They always did.
We used the IHOP system for several months.
Sometimes he would come early for an appointment in my law office. For an hour before the appointment, he would sit in my waiting room. He would doze off. He does not have all his teeth, but he smiles a lot. We gave him coffee, like at IHOP.
One day, my wife, who works in my office, noticed that his bag that contained his belongings was a worn-out paper shopping bag with handles, so she gave him a better one. Sugar gave him a big canvas gym bag of mine that says “World Games.” I had received it for being a participant in the Senior Olympics. Sugar emptied out my swim gear and gave it to him without even asking me. I did not mind. I have lots of bags. He loved the bag. After his case was over, we sometimes saw him carrying the World Games bag around town.
Colorado gets cold in the winter. Last time we talked, my client told me that he was planning to move to Florida. I wonder if he did. I have not seen my bag lately. I should ask the IHOP crew.