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Alan Jenkins looked up at the dark sky. It was supposed to start snowing soon, and the newspapers were predicting at least 6-8 inches. It was definitely cold enough. The thermometer on the clock in the square was showing 26 degrees. Alan decided to head for home, and since he was the owner of one of Boston’s largest department stores, he had the luxury of choosing his own hours.

As he headed out of the parking lot in his Lexus, he noticed three teenagers harassing an older man on the sidewalk. The man was about 70, possibly older and was wearing a ragged overcoat, with socks on his hands to keep warm. Alan stopped the car, got out, and chased off the boys. He asked the man if he needed a lift somewhere. The temperature was supposed to drop to the single digits by midnight. The man accepted the ride and Alan dropped him off at a homeless shelter about a mile from his store. Alan asked the man his name, and he said to just call him John.

As Alan started towards home, he felt very tired and depressed. He had mixed feelings about the Christmas season. As a businessperson, it was one of his busiest and profitable times of the year. On a personal level, he hated Christmas and had ever since he was twelve years old. His mother had gotten sick and had died on Christmas Day of that year. His father changed after that. He started drinking and hit Alan a lot.

By the time Alan was sixteen, he had had enough and ran away. He knew his father would not look for him. Alan never looked back. He had grown up in New York, and after he ran away, he lived on the streets for two years. When he turned eighteen, he joined the Army to get away from his past and make a fresh start. After four years in the Army, he started working in sales at a department store in Philadelphia. He was good at his job and he was a hard worker. After four years, he was promoted to manager and transferred to Boston.

Over the next ten years, he had advanced to Vice President and taking a big risk, he opened his own department store, separate from the chain he had worked for. Within ten years, it was one of the biggest stores in Boston. He had carefully invested his money and now, at age 46, he was living very comfortably.

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