a special message from the director of
Upper Room of Erie, a homeless shelter

Heartfelt Community Support

Not long ago, a man checked into a hotel not far from the Cleveland Clinic with his fourteen year-old son. The two registered at the front desk, then went to their room, which was on the third floor. Upon registering, the clerk at the desk commented to another that the boy looked ashen-gray, in fact, sickly. Later that evening, after having supper together at the hotel's restaurant, the boy went back to their room, but the man made his way to the front desk. "I need to speak with the manager," he told the receptionist.

"Is there something wrong?" she replied, concerned about the accommodations. "No, the accommodations are fine," he answered, "But I need the manager." Sheepishly, she said, "Just a minute, I'll see if I can get him," naturally concerned that she may have done something wrong.

Soon the manager appeared. "My son has cancer," the man said. "In fact, it is probably terminal. He is to undergo a massive course of radiation as well as chemical therapy starting tomorrow, and we have been told all his hair will fall out."

The manager's eyes grew misty, wondering what might be expected of him. "My son is fourteen years old today, and he has decided to shave his head tonight," the man told the manager. "I intend to shave mine as well, that I might honor him. Please ask your staff not to over-react, or whisper among themselves when we come down for breakfast in the morning." The manager assured him that he would instruct his staff accordingly.

The following morning, the man and his son sat for breakfast in the hotel restaurant, both with shaved heads. Soon the manager appeared from the kitchen, followed by his receptionist, a cook, and a waiter. They all had shaved heads.


At The UPPER ROOM of ERIE we provide shelter. It's a place where one can get a fresh cup of coffee, sit back, watch television, or play a game of chess with a friend. It's warm here when it's cold outside and it's, well- warm here when it's hot too. We make friends, have unbelievable volunteers who always go the extra mile, and have four great guys (Ron, Allen, George, and Robert) who come almost everyday to serve our consumers, and come out of love, not obligation, or pay....for sure, not pay. But, are we like the hotel staff? Do we shave our heads out of respect? The answer is -- no, not yet, but we are heading in that direction.

Dr. Cris Taylor
Apr 24, 2014

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