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Sunday, May 24, 2009

What the world needs now

While away a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. And as usual, we ate our food in the car. I just don't like eating inside fast food restaurants, I don't know why. I think it has to do with my fear of clowns piggy flu how dirty they often look.

As we sat stuffing our faces with breakfast sandwiches and iced coffees, a man walked up and sat at the table on the sidewalk in front of our car. I mentioned to Joe that I've been really making a conscious effort not to make assumptions but that he looked homeless and hungry when in reality he was probably just enjoying the nice weather.

We finished eating and Joe hopped out of the car to throw away our trash. On his way back to the car, the man spoke to him. I couldn't hear him from inside the car but they spoke for a minute and then Joe reached in his pocket and handed the man some cash. I saw the man smile and he gave Joe a huge squeeze on the shoulder before heading inside the store.

When Joe got back in the car, he told me that the man said he was homeless and had lost his job when his plant closed. He wondered if Joe could spare a few dollars so he could get something to eat because he was hungry. When Joe handed him a $20 bill, the man told him "thank you and God bless you - what goes around comes around."

I felt good afterwards. Twenty dollars to us isn't a huge sum of money but to someone out of work and hungry, it probably seemed like a lot for a stranger to hand over.

Maybe he played us and walked away thinking we were suckers. Maybe he took that money and bought beer. Maybe he was just conning us for cash.

Or maybe he is in a bad place in his life and had to really swallow his pride to ask for some help. And maybe we helped him keep his belly full for a day or two.

I like to think it was the latter and that he's right - the kindness will be passed forward and repaid somewhere in the world. If nothing else, our intentions were good and I don't think it can be a bad thing to put a little compassion out there.

22 comments:

Nicole O'Dell said...

You know what, the way I look at it is that no matter what he did with it, generosity changes you first.

What a beautiful story.

C. Beth said...

Love Nicole's response. You guys did a good thing.

blognut said...

I usually go the route of taking the person inside of the restaurant or store where they are hanging around asking for money, and I buy them food because I worry about what they will do with the cash, and because I rarely carry any cash.

I'm so trained to live off of my debit card that I'm lucky if I can scrape enough real money together to buy a cup of coffee.

silver star said...

It seems like the only time anyone asks me for cash, I have either just spent the last of it, or I only have a debit or credit card with me. All you can do is hope that he was telling the truth and the money did go towards some food.

robin said...

No matter what he did with the money, it was a wonderful gesture! Good on Joe. What a nice guy!

Snarky A. said...

I love Nicole's perspective. So great!

Kudos to Joe for being so awesome! It is never a bad thing to put a little compassion out there.
<3

The Wife O Riley said...

I always think positively that they used the money for food.

Call Me Cate said...

Nicole O'Dell - I agree. I hope the man was being honest and we helped him. But if not, I still feel good about it.

C. Beth - Thanks.

blognut - that probably would've been more my approach too, to take the man inside. He did go into the store when we left so I'm hopeful he grabbed something to eat. I rarely have "real" money either.

silver star - I only use my credit card 99% of the time. The chick at the store gave me crap yesterday though because I gave her a $20 bill to pay for something that was $2.11. "Well, do you at least have a penny?". No, I don't. Should've charged it I guess.

robin - Joe is a nice guy. Very compassionate.

Snarky - I have to watch Joe though. Sometimes he's TOO compassionate. And while I understand WANTING to do and give more, sometimes that's not the best solution for whatever reason.

Call Me Cate said...

Wife O Riley - That's what I'm hoping. We'll never know.

♥Rocío♥ said...

Bless your Heart! Sometimes we do not know where that money is going but I look at it this way. If you get the feeling of giving, it is because God is whispering in your ear "help them" and I usually do the same thing as Blognut (just to be in the safe site ~wink~)

Have a Blessing Sunday!

andy said...

well you know what "they" say when people assume.

ass - u - me

i have to often call myself back from judgment of others and try to remember how i want to be what i would like to get back from others. sometimes it's hard...when people are f#*k-tards.

but kindness is never wasted. and like nicole said, it changes you first. whenever you give love and happy to people, it will make you feel it inside...and that feeling you impose upon others will come back and bless you too.

cripes i'm philosophical today.

must write a thesis or something.

or a post maybe?

whatever.

andy

Lisa said...

So true, that was very compassionate. Isn't it awful that there are so many cheaters in this world that it ruins it for the ones who really need the help.

Melissa B. said...

Good for you! I live in a place that's no stranger to the homeless, but I've seen more and more down-and-out folks recently. And I believe that karma will get you on the rebound. Thanks for helping a fellow human being! BTW, if you have a chance, please stop by my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. Featuring Flower Power today!

Lindy said...

Joe got out to put the trash away - most people would have avoided the guy and threw it away when they got home. That probably would have been me, but now I'm not so sure. You got me to thinking about it - thanks for the inspiration. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

2cats said...

The way I look at it, any money I give as a hand out is a gift. What someone does with a gift after I have given it, is up to them. None of my business.
You did a very nice thing.

Comedy Goddess said...

I think you guys had your hearts in the right place. No matter what he did with the money, your act of kindness is aligned with Love. Good for you!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I used to judge them, and believe that I shouldn't give them my money because I worked hard for it.

But now, I see things differently, and I know that until you walk in someone else's shoes, you just have no idea.

And even if you do, being generous is what matters.

Good for you. Great post.

kimber p said...

awesome post Cate..I hear so often that most of these people are cons and scammers and although I'm sure it's true for a small portion of those asking for money, for some of them it's the only way they'll eat for a day or two. Even if he wasn't homeless, what Joe did will come back in reward because of the intention of his heart when he gave. :)

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

There are a lot of people who need help, and it feels good to be able to help. Good for you and Joe - most people nowadays just keep walking.

Call Me Cate said...

♥Rocío♥ - I definitely felt this nagging sense of this man needing assistance. I'm glad Joe felt it too.

Andy - You're way philosophical. And I appreciate your words. Totally go write a thesis. I'll let you dedicate it to me.

Lisa - I find it hard to trust people in general with all the cheaters out there. This man just looked sad in a way I hadn't seen in a long time.

Melissa - I live in an area that hasn't been hit too hard but I know it's all around.

Lindy - If my blog occasionally makes people think, I consider that a huge compliment.

2cats - That's a very good way of looking at it, as a gift.

Comedy Goddess - Yeah, I felt good about it. It was a small gesture but one that felt right.

Mary - I feel very fortunate right now that we both have jobs and are doing quite well. We've worked for it, we've dug out of huge holes. But I remember the days when $20 would've been really appreciated. It wasn't so long ago that I've forgotten - and I hope I never do.

Kimber - Joe's a good man. I'm gonna keep him around for awhile.

RAS - I often keep walking. Or I give money the easy way - I find a cause I like and write a check. This seemed much more rewarding, scammer or not.

Yaya said...

Very true. Great post.

Domestic Goddess said...

I live in Sin City and am approached by someone on nearly every corner begging for change. I do believe in the saying, 'what goes around, comes around'. Now, I can't give EVERY one of them a piece of what's left of my unemployment check, but I do help out now and then. Sometimes handing them money or sometimes actually buying them food. It always leaves me with a good feeling. But the funniest thing I had seen yet is a guy on a corner holding a sign that read, "Face it, I'm a drunk and I'm thirsty... Please help."