Give It Away

I learned a lesson today.  My father has a philosophy that if someone is desperate enough to stand and ask you for money, you should give if you can.  Once you give, the money is no longer yours to judge what that person does with it.

This was on my list today:

  • Return zappos shoes that were a back up for Patrick’s father’s day present.
  • Hit the Bath and Body Works sale and stock up on antibacterial soaps.
  • Get finger paints to do cool ziplock project for the tiny one that my friend showed me.
  • Buy orange chicken at Trader Joe’s because I’m addicted.

All of these things involve money, and are a part of my life that I do not worry about.  Nothing is extravagant, but nothing on the list is a cause for monetary consternation either.  I hit the sale and scored an extra .50 cents off each soap and decided to stroll to Starbucks because I have serious insomnia.  On my way, there was an old man who was clearly down on his luck.  He was wearing a straw fedora and took it off and held it out as we passed.  I did not stop because of the tiny one and my mama bear instinct, but continued to think about him and how skinny he was.  I decided I would buy him coffee.  What if he doesn’t like coffee?  Ok, they have these cooler drinks; I’ll get him one of those.  No, Patrick says that men don’t like those kinds of drinks.  All right, I’ll get him a $5 card and he can get a coffee and pastry or whatever he wants.

I got my coffee and the card and went back to find the man.  He was there and I gave it to him and said there was enough for coffee and a pastry.  His face lit up and he asked me which restaurant the card was for.  I told him.  He thanked me and hurried towards Starbucks.  I got in my car and cried.  He was so skinny.  Why didn’t I do $10?  That would have gotten him a sandwich.  Why didn’t I do $20?  That would be breakfast for a few days and it wouldn’t have changed my financial situation in any way.

My heart breaks for this hungry man who still got up and dressed himself for the day, and I am thankful for his presence in my life today.  It humbled me and allowed me to think of the lessons from my father and to have a conversation with the tiny one that I am certain he did not understand, but will, someday.  I added compassion to my goals of happy and healthy for his life.

One thought on “Give It Away

  1. You know, I often think of this when I pass someone on the street asking me – begging me – to help them. And I keep walking. It worries me, saddens me that I can just keep on walking and buy groceries, face creams, clothes…and the position could easily be the other way around. Thanks for the reminder today.

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