From an early age, I’ve been lucky enough to see the world through empathetic and caring eyes. Sometimes I’m too idealistic and this becomes a fault. Sometimes my kindness gets taken for weakness. Still, I never want to harden or lose that part of myself. I make an effort almost daily to practice an act of kindness. Sometimes it’s appreciated, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it goes unnoticed, perhaps I’ll never know if it gets noticed. But being noticed or appreciated isn’t the point.
There’s a main street by work where all the pan handlers hang out. If you get stuck at the light, which is ALWAYS the case, its only a matter of seconds before some pathetic looking soul with puppy dog eyes approaches the car window. Sometimes, depending on my level of road rage, I’m already annoyed at the situation so I say “sorry” quite firmly then pretend to be busy looking at the radio or phone. Other times, my empathetic side wins and I can’t help but empty my purse into the rusty tin can held out at arm’s length.
We all know that giving money to panhandlers isn’t the best idea because it’s likely being used for drugs or alcohol. To remedy that, I started carrying granola bars in my car to pass out as treats. (Halloween came early, bitches.) I was now well-equipped to handle the street corners so when the next homeless man approached, I quite proudly offered him a bar. He looked at it hesitantly and with disgust said, “What kind is it?” “Are you serious dude?” I thought to myself. “If you’re really that hungry you’d eat a granola bar made of pubic hair and ants.” Sure enough he passed on the damn bar.
Last night I had a much better experience. Before going home after work, I stopped at the gas station for a treat. (Ended up with a shit load of donuts that I ate RIGHT before bed but that’s neither here nor there.) Outside the station was a younger guy shivering, he was clearly homeless. As I was leaving he asked me for some change. I said no but offered him something to eat. “I’ll take anything.” So he and I went inside for a little Super Market Sweep action. “Get whatever you want I said.” He picked up a measly Little Debbie snack but I insisted he get something more to hold him over. (He and I share the same love of Swiss Rolls and Zebra Cakes.) As he roamed around the store, reluctantly picking out food items, he repeated “No one’s ever done this before, no one’s ever done this before.” Finally with a bag of donuts, 2 Little Debbie snacks and a vitamin water we made our way to the register. As I was paying I could see that he was in tears, so gracious and appreciative. What a beautiful moment that I will always remember.
Be kind to someone tomorrow without expecting anything in return. We never know the impact it will create.
Amen and goodnight.