This is all true with absolutely no embellishments whatsoever. For many years I worked as the third shift manager at a 24hour drug store on the edge of the seedier side of town. It was the type of place that lost a couple hundred dollars to shoplifters every day. This was at least 8 or 9 years ago. I had ready been on third shift for a few years so I was used to weird people, but this was entirely new.

It was a warm October night (Florida) around 3am when no one is out shopping, not even junkies looking for tire guages and steel wool. It was just me and my cashier, an 18 year old Vietnamese kid I’ll call Phan*. I was pushing a dust mop up and down the aisles toward the part of the store furthest from the front door while he was facing. I was pushing the mop down aisle 6 when I saw standing 20 feet in front of me at the start of the next half of the aisle at very tall, very skinny, tall black man. He was old with dirty curly gray hair and a long curly gray beard that went at least 12 inches long. He was wearing a dirty brown cuordoroy suit jacket, the kind that has patches on the elbows and matching brown cuordoroy pants. I saw him and remember seeing him that clearly and yet an instant later he was gone as if he had never been there in the first place.

I shook my head and was like “damn, I must be tired if I am imagining things.” And I went back about my work sweeping the floors. Less than a minute later the door chime rang (it rings everytime a customer enters or exits so we don’t miss anyone) letting Phan and I know we had a customer. It was a younger woman who stopped in the grocery aisle for some cereal and the last aisle for some milk. She paid and was gone in two minutes easy. After she left I saw Phan* walking past all the aisles poking his head around like he was looking for someone.

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I asked him “What are you doing?” He said that the customer told him when she was walking past one of the aisles she saw a homeless guy but when she walked back he was gone and that he should check it out. I asked if she said what he looked like. He said “A tall old black man in a dirty suit.” Now I am a young stocky white guy, so there is no way she was mistaking me.

I said “Don’t bother. I saw him too, and he isn’t really here.” Then I told him everything I saw. I think he was more freaked out by the experience than I was because he was shaking like a leaf the rest of the night.

I’m guessing he was just some soul passing through. As an aside to this story, I told it to another one of my overnight cashiers a few years later. After she clocked out for lunch that evening she never bothered to return to work and we had to mail her her final paycheck.