I was driving home when I spotted him again. He was standing on the median with a sign that I didn’t bother to read. I wasn’t going to force him to qualify for my upcoming donation. It was not my place to judge him or his motives.
He was probably in his early sixties, and stood about six-feet-tall. He had clear eyes and an ex- military look.
I removed a large bill from my wallet, and rolled down my window. He had to cross a lane to get to me, so I made sure the light would stay red.
“Hey there,” I called, “I don’t want to get you killed!”
The man smiled and reached out for my contribution with clean, gentle hands. “Thank you,” he said. Then he looked at the bill and his mouth dropped open. “Oh my God, thank you!” he repeated.
I smiled at him and responded, “Absolutely!” and waved goodbye. As I prepared to accelerate away, I looked towards him as he was looking away from me. The look of gratitude was immense, filling his eyes with tears as he clenched his jaw and looked down at his shoes. His face was red.
I wish I would have made eye contact with him one more time so that he knew that I actually SAW him as a fellow human being experiencing a tough time.
His reaction changed my day completely. Every little thing that had bothered me that day, like the line at Arby’s or the woman at the post office who couldn’t seem to release her letters into the mailbox, seemed minuscule.
You can judge people who ask for money if you like, and I’m not proposing that you give them anything. I simply felt a need to give to this man. I’ve passed by many others.
It might sound corny to you, but the act of giving made my heart grow a little stronger, and my love for humanity grow a little deeper.
So, I extend a thank you to the man on the median. With a single interaction, you changed my day. I hope I changed yours.