December 3, 2010
Homeless Man + Chocolate Covered Cherry = TGIF. Seriously.
It’s been a long week. Work is busy, my mother is in town, it’s the holidays, and my son has a lot of algebra home work. While I would love to help him, it makes absolutely no sense to me, and it takes all my strength to not tell him that he will never need to know this crap.
It’s the holiday season and one would expect, or rather hope, people would be kind to each other. Yesterday as I shopped at CVS, I walked past a woman and she yelled at me for walking too fast. Really? Is there a speed limit when walking down the aisle of a store?
After work, I went to fill my car with gas, and a homeless person asked if I could spare some change. I grabbed my wallet, pulled out $5, and gave it to the man. I wished him a happy holiday season, and continued to fill my car. He thanked me and walked off.
I got in my car, started the engine, and was about to pull out when there was a knock at my window. I about peed my pants it scared me so bad. It’s dark at 5:00 now and the sight of someone at my window scared the crap out of me. It took me a second to realize that it was the homeless man.
I opened my window and asked if he was ok. He said he thought I gave him a dollar, and when he went into the gas station to get a coffee, he realized it was a 5, and he bought himself some dinner. He thanked me for being so generous and gave me a chocolate covered cherry.
It was the sweetest gesture. I was going to tell him he shouldn’t have and quickly changed my mind. I thanked him, told him it had been a long day, and a chocolate was exactly what I needed. I opened the candy, ate it, and told him it was the best chocolate I ever had.
He smiled and the joy it gave him to help a stranger was visible. He was happy, and it had been a bad day, and I started to cry. I told him he made my day and his kindness mattered to me. Of all the people I encountered all day, he was the only one that had been kind.
He laughed and told me that of all the people he had spoken to, I had been the first one to be kind. Go figure. How sad that in a world that is struggling, when it costs nothing to be nice to a stranger, the only kindness we experienced all day was from each other.
I thanked him again for the chocolate, he thanked me for dinner, and at the exact same moment we both said God Bless You to one another. I don’t know his name, or what his story is. What I do know is that he was homeless, filthy, suffering, and the owner of a kind and generous heart.
We must be kind to each other. It matters. There are no strangers. We are all in this together, all being watched over by God, and we owe it to each other to be nice. Thank God it’s Friday. I am going to spend the evening with my mother, and enjoy a quiet and peaceful Shabbat.
To the people of Israel who are fighting the fire, along with the families of those lost, I am sending you my prayers. To the homeless people who are cold and hungry, I am sending you my prayers. To the people who are unable to see their blessings, I am sending you my prayers.
My real desire is to buy an entire box of chocolate covered cherries, a bottle of red wine, and a bag of potato chips, then sit on my couch devouring all of it and wallowing in a little bitterness. What I shall do instead, is count my blessings, be grateful for my life, and keep the faith.