A few minutes– That’s all I need. Since everyone’s attention span is 2 seconds, and every feed is overloaded with ads, I’m gonna just ask flat out that you patiently give this a few minutes of your time. This message isn’t intended to be a ‘feather in my cap post’ (so let’s avoid that notion), but rather the intent is to raise awareness about what a small act of kindness can do for complete strangers… for those who have nothing and little hope. With the rest of the world, I watched the ALS challenge go viral.. people dumping water on themselves by the dozens and hopefully donating money to the actual cause.. it got me thinking, why can’t this message I’m sending you now be just as contagious? This message is to inspire and challenge you. We’ll see if this works.
I was browsing around downtown and passed a homeless man and woman sitting on the ground. I didn’t catch his name, but he had removed his old prosthetic and was rubbing his leg. The woman’s name was Vicky. Their ethnicity and age don’t matter. But based on my experiences with homeless communities, they are more likely those that would be overlooked, ignored and probably avoided. I don’t know what the criteria is for helping others, but people do seem generally selective about who they choose. In the end though, every human being living on the street has the same problem.. the same need. Don’t be selective. Everyone needs help.
Naturally they asked for money, but I rarely carry cash. I told them that, but since that’s a crap excuse for not helping people who need it, I do what I usually do… Offer food or clothing. It’s not rare for me to take food or leftovers from dinner to drop off for whoever I happen to see. I figure, if I take the time to recycle all the junk I buy and look for ways to save money, why waste things that other people need? Consider that next time you’re ask for a To Go box.
I asked Vicky and the man if they’d like some food. They’re eyes widened with surprise. I took Vicky to the nearest ‘nice’ chain restaurant and ordered two burgers To Go. She was amazed just to walk in to the restaurant with its ambience, decor and typical bar & grill music. She noticed everything… from the fancy railings to the wood paneled walls. Vicky smelled and she knew it. I told the hostess we would be back and took Vicky to a nearby discount clothing store. She clung to me with anxiety and excitement. She had an old shirt on with a piece of masking tape still attached to the back indicating the shirt had cost 50 cents. She apologized for how bad she smelled. No one should have to live like this, I thought. I reassured her it was okay and not to apologize. We walked in the store and I let her pick out some things.. She chose a plain white tee shirt and some cheap fake jeans. People looked, of course. Don’t they always? I just smiled politely and said hello. Vicky went to the bathroom while I was in line and returned with a pair of cheap shoes. 'I don't need the food,' she said and looked at the shoes.
Now, I know some of you may be thinking, she saw an opportunity. You know what? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it matter? One thing many people don’t know is socks and shoes are something people living on the street need badly. That and soap, deodorant, underwear, etc… Everything we need, but take for granted. I took the shoes and smiled, 'These'll fit for sure?' 'Yes,' she grinned. 'Well let's check out and go get the food,' I said. She was so excited, she hugged me over and over. As we sat in the restaurant waiting for the To Go order, I watched people glance over… I simply smiled (again) and took Vicky’s hand. Excited about the shoes, she pulled them out and tried one on. She was ecstatic as she put them back in the bag. She told me she was gonna go to the mall to shower and put on her new clothes.
Vicky told me about some of her experiences. She got teary and told me how much she appreciated my help. She put her head on my shoulder and I patted her cheek, comforting her and reminding her that she’s strong… 'We females are stronger than men think,' I told her 'You gotta take care of yourself and be smart. You have to be careful out there.' We chatted a bit longer and she promised she would be careful.
We thanked the hostess, took the food and walked back to the man with the prosthetic. He looked genuinely surprised we were back. I handed him his burger and she got settled with hers. Of course, they did all the 'thanks you' 'bless you' 'praise jesus' stuff, but that means very little to me. I mean, I’m glad they appreciate it, but it’s what we are supposed to do. All of us. I reminded them that there are others like me… People that care and want to help. People that will help. That they’re not alone. I told them to be safe and watch out for each other, hugged Vicky goodbye, shook the man’s hand and went on my way.
Now, I spent a little, but that’s what money is for, right? Oh I know, we’ve all got expenses and we’re all very busy. I work hard and I treat myself to things, pay my bills, take vacations, save money… So what’s the excuse for not helping someone out? I would’ve just spent that money on dinner out or another dress I don’t need. But instead, two people benefitted from that little bit– Benefitted more than I would. Way more. And they may forget and they may have issues I don’t know about, but that doesn’t matter. It’s not my place to decide how deserving someone is. What matters is that people need help and those of us who want to help can.. It only takes a little time and money.. We have that… We all do. Even if it’s a bottle of water and a $5 shirt or package of socks and a toothbrush. We hold a moral responsibility to our fellow men, women and children. If our cities don’t care for them, who will? Us! And we can make the cities care. These are our people. Our fellow Americans. They need us. We should be there for them. I would hope someone would help me if I needed it and I have before.
So, my message to you today is to help people. Show them love and kindness. All we see are bad things everyday. The good is there. Be the good.
Got a fabulous Friday surprise from @saraita86 … Who, by the way, did an excellent… Dare I say, professional packing job 😁 I LOVE them and I miss you!! 😘