DALLAS -- Bus after bus rolled in... 500 people in all. Each of them homeless and many hopeless, as well.
Saturday, though, these people who have grown so accustomed to the street were given a red carpet, a band, a crowd of cheering fans, and the presence of Santa Claus. For the 12th straight year, SoupMobile hosted its Christmas Gala, doing all this to raise the worth of Dallas' homeless.
They're so often bunched together as a singular homeless population, but each has his or her own story.
"The family members I was staying with, I got into it with them, and they ended up taking me to The Bridge," Sharite Thomas said.
For nearly a year, she's been sleeping on a floor mat.
"I toss and turn a lot because it's the floor, and it's depressing," Thomas said.
That won't be the case for Christmas.
"It feels like cushion and everything," Thomas said, feeling the bed she was sitting on in the Dallas Omni Hotel. "Look at this. It's new, beautiful pillows."
Thanks to SoupMobile, those 500 homeless are all spending the night in the downtown Omni, and they got gifts, new clothes, and a huge steak dinner.
"The age I am at 50, I'm going to be still getting gifts, and people do still care," Thomas said.
With the reality of the street looming on Christmas Day, Thomas is going to focus on the simple things like not leaving that bed.
"Not until it's time to go eat!" she laughed. "I'm going to enjoy myself with this."
It makes sense because what's a red carpet, a Santa Claus, a band, or a bus if you don't have a bed?