The other day after I dropped my daughter off for a class downtown, I parked my car in a lot near a Starbucks, packed up my bag with my computer and headed down the street dressed with my heels and fashionable black winter coat. Visions of steamy almond milk chai lattes and getting caught up on some work while I waited for Madison to finish her class, danced in my head as I braved the cold evening air.
But half way between my car and the Starbucks, an older man dressed in a raggedy thin winter coat, wearing baggy pants and tattered shoes appeared as if out of nowhere, walking towards me. His hand was held out in front of him, a few shiny sliver coins in his palm.
While I was moving at a fast pace – he was slowly shuffling directly in my path.
In seconds I looked this man from head to toe and realized his situation. I slowed down as I approached him and as we made eye contact I could see such a beautiful, kind sparkle in his blue eyes. He was older, and his soft voice had a faint Scottish accent. I instantly thought of my husband’s grandfather, a soft spoken but fiercely proud man and I wondered how this man had gotten to this point? Did he have a wife? Children? Family anywhere who loved him and wanted to protect him? A million thoughts ran through my mind as I automatically began to dig in my coat pocket for change. Not one to carry much cash around, I pulled out one nickel from my pocket and dropped it in his hand. As it clanged with the other few coins, I apologized for only having 5cents – but still he was so grateful and his eyes lit up with such a beautiful smile.
I suddenly remembered my daughter had paid me back with a $10.00 bill for something I had picked up for her the other day and I had shoved it in my back pocket for my latte as I bolted out the door from home.
As the older gentleman began to shuffle down the street, I called out, wait I think I have more money for you sir. I reached into my back pocket and found the $10.00. I was SO HAPPY I had an instant of feeling of hitting the jackpot. I reached out and put the money in his hand as he turned back towards me. I said, “Please get yourself something to eat,” and I turned to walk away.
He gently closed his hand around mine and pulled me in to hug me, kissing me on each cheek. “God bless you, God bless you. Thank you so much, thank you so very much!” He said looking straight in my eyes. It all happened so fast, but it felt like everything was slowed down. As I locked in on his gaze, I could see his eyes were glossy and tears quietly trickled down the sides of his face.
I walked away, speechless.
A mix of emotions and feelings flooded my heart and mind and I felt grateful for the encounter. For the reminder that the simplest of connections can have a great impact and leave you feeling changed, renewed, appreciative.
If you have a car, a warm coat (or two), money in your bank, a job, a bed, a home, people who love you – be grateful. You have a LOT! If you have a little bit EXTRA, food or money, give it to someone you pass by who is living on the streets. No judgement, just love. It will benefit YOU as much as it does THEM!
In the hustle and bustle of life, we sometimes forget how very fortunate we are. Every person is, at the core, the same, regardless of circumstances. Take a moment to acknowledge one another with love in your heart. These connections are gifts from the universe. THIS moment, this man’s sweet face and the feelings of love and appreciation that he had for what I gave him and the feelings of love and appreciation I had for what he gave me, will stay with me forever.
Always remember ONE person can make a difference, that ONE person is YOU!
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