Personal Narrative Essay: My Eye-Opened Trip to Washington, DC

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While I was in Washington, DC, I never realized how many people there were homeless. This was a real eye-opener for me because this could happen to anyone. There are many people out on the street hoping that each day some random person will give them enough money for food each day. For some people that are taken away from their families and now live on the street is even more heartbreaking to me. This was an experience that made me see the bigger picture in life and about myself.

I am currently attending King University in Bristol, Tennessee, to play baseball and this is my freshmen year. I am in my second semester and our season is just around the corner and I can’t wait. But, during the first semester, the whole freshmen class got the opportunity to take a trip all the way to Washington, DC. In this exciting moment, everyone was scrambling trying to write out what attraction they wanted to see and figure out all the money they would need to save up. I have been saving up for about 2 years trying to figure out the right time to spend it and I feel like now is the perfect time to do so. I have been to Washington, DC before, so I somewhat know what to expect when going there.

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On September 26th, 2019, all the freshman packed their things and headed to the buses for the long and cramped trip. We arrived around 10:30 p.m. and everyone went to the hotel lobby to figure out the groups we would be in throughout the whole trip. Once that was all figured out, I could finally go to sleep. The next morning, our group had planned on going to the Washington Nationals baseball stadium, which wasn’t that far from where we were staying, and getting the whole place to ourselves. After that, we decided that it was time to go get some lunch. Our group leader told us that we could go eat wherever we wanted and to be back at the hotel in about an hour or so.

My place of choice for lunch was an old Italian restaurant called ‘Valentino’s’ and it was only a couple of blocks down the street. People around the city say they have the ‘best pizza in town’ so I had to try it out. When I finally arrived, I noticed something that many people would look past. I witnessed a homeless woman sitting there by the door waiting for someone to finish their food so she can clean up their food and sweets around the tables outside. I go up to her and ask how she is doing, and she says: “I’m feeling blessed to be alive! I’m out here trying to clean around this establishment, so they see that I am hard working and give me a job”. She also said that it is her third week living right outside of this restaurant, cleaning every day, and doing her best so that the owner will notice her taking responsibility and trying to earn a spot in this establishment. This woman was wearing old, grey, nasty clothes that most people would ignore if they saw her but, for me, I wanted to know her story.

I asked her: “Why do you keep cleaning and being nice? What do you need the money for?”. She proceeds to tell me: “My daughter started living with my mom after I got fired from my last job and lost everything. I’m trying to get enough money for a plane ticket to go prove to them that I have changed”. This really touched me because I know I would do anything for my family and the fact that she has been out here for three weeks trying to get a job just to see her family is remarkable. I decided to give her $200 just to get her started and I feel that one day the workers and owner will realize the hard work she is putting into this and give her a job.

I feel that homelessness has been an ongoing problem in the United States for hundreds of years and it cannot be decreased until each state comes up with a plan that is effective enough to give them a spot in our society. Her story really touched me and I feel like the government needs to help these people out. However, for this to work, the economy needs to recover to the point where no one is left without a job and is paid enough to manage everyday life. The negative stereotypes of the homeless need to be stopped and people need to be educated that homelessness can affect anyone at any time. Although there are many services available to assist the homeless, it is not enough. Big corporations can play a major role in assisting the homeless by training and hiring, as well as donating goods to people in need.

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Personal Narrative Essay: My Eye-Opened Trip to Washington, DC. (2023, October 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from
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