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June 15, 2013

Pure Leaf, Lottery Tickets, Tzedaka, Father’s Day

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/pure_leaf_lottery_tickets_tzedaka_fathers_day/

Photo

Robert Angel, zs'l

I love iced tea.  I never drank it until I moved to the States, but ever since then I have been hooked.  I recently discovered Pure Leaf and it is my favorite.  I like the sweetened one and could drink it all day, everyday.  I never keep it in my house because I worry I will figure out a way to attach it by IV to my arm as I am addicted to it.

This week I was stopped in traffic due to an accident and as I went to make a u-turn to get out of the mess, I found myself in front of a 7/11, so I decided to stop in for a lottery ticket and iced tea.  As I walked in I noticed a man and his dog sitting outside with a cup to collect donations. I planned to give him my change on the way out.

I got my tea and lottery tickets, checking an old one I had in my wallet.  I won $11 and was super excited about it.  I never win the lottery so I took this as a sign I was getting close to hitting the jackpot and bought 2 more tickets, took my winnings and headed out.  I stopped next to the man with the dog and said hello. He said hello back and asked if I could spare some change.

I admired his cute dog and told him I had just won the lottery and wanted to give him my winnings so he could buy lunch for him and his dog.  I handed over the $11 and wished him a good day.  He told me it was the most money anyone had ever given him, and he was grateful.  I told him it was my pleasure to share my luck and wished him well.

I have always believed in tzedaka.  I am also one who always talks to homeless people.  You never know what the circumstances were that got them there, and I have always felt that if someone is brave enough to ask a stranger for help, they should be helped.  I don’t care what they do with the money, and it is none of my business, so I give.

I drove home happy I could help someone, thrilled I won the lottery, and enjoying my iced tea.  I got home, made dinner for my son, and never gave it another thought.  A couple of days later as I was heading home from work, I saw the man outside 7/11 with his dog.  I decided to stop in to get a tea, and a lottery ticket, since maybe he was good luck.

When I approached the door I asked the man how he was doing even though I knew he wouldn’t remember me.  He immediately stood up and said hello. He went on to tell me he and his dog had a great lunch with the money I gave him and he was able to buy snacks too.  I told him I was glad he was doing well, and he told me he had a confession to make.

He said he had used one of the dollars I gave him to buy a lottery ticket because he thought I might be good luck.  He bought a scratcher and won $5.00.  He then reached into his bag of treasures and pulled out a Pure Leaf iced tea.  He told me he noticed it was what I was drinking when I gave him the money and he used his winnings to buy me one.

I started to cry.  It was the sweetest gesture and I was touched by his gift, his memory, and his desire to thank me.  The tea was warm as he had been holding onto it and waiting for me to come by again.  He smiled at me with his toothless grin and told me it was the happiest day he and his dog could remember.  It was a truly remarkable moment.

I thanked him for the tea and told him I was going to save it and put it in my fridge since it was hot, but I would go in and buy us both one.  He told me he was fine and I had helped him already.  He had no idea that he had helped me.  I bought us both a tea, water for the dog, 10 cans of dog food, 2 sandwiches, and some snacks for my new friends.

I gave him the shopping and told him it was now one of the happiest days that I could remember.  It is when we give freely that we receive things in return.  It is Father’s Day and I am sad beyond measure that my Dad has passed. I often wonder what he would think of my blog, and my sharing of stories.  I miss my Dad and know he would love this one.

In helping this man I was able to help myself.  I always get a little sad around Father’s Day and I find myself thinking about my Dad and all the things he is missing. I dream about my Dad and I feel this man was sent to remind me of him.  Life is complicated and busy, but if I can remember to slow down and take notice, I am given many gifts.

My dad would have done for this man what I did.  I am my father’s daughter and to be reminded that he lives on through me is a wonderful gift to be given from a complete stranger. I give with no expectation of receiving, which is tzedaka. Because of this tzedaka however, I was given the priceless gift of feeling a connection to my Dad.

Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful Dad, Robert Angel, za'l.  To all dads out there, I hope you have a wonderful day.  To the troops who are away from their families, and to all the people who celebrate this day as a tribute to father’s who have passed, Happy Father’s Day.  Be kind to one another, stay safe, and remember to always keep the faith.

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