Tuesday, April 30, 2013

At the Intersection of Haves and Have-Nots

You may be aware that my birthday wish to inspire 50 people to perform random acts of kindness or generally do something selfless was fulfilled in time for my birthday. I'll write more about that in future posts, I'm sure, but today I want to share someone else's story. It's from someone who helped me reach my goal. 

I had a meeting downtown today, and the only parking I'd found was two blocks from my destination. While walking to my meeting, I came across an apparently-homeless woman pushing a small shopping cart.  She and I were waiting to cross the street when I got a good look at her and her belongings.  This tiny woman either had enormous feet or had made do with what appeared to be size 12 men's shoes, tied to feet to keep them on. Through the sides of the cart, I noted numerous plastic bags full of ??? and many large pieces of cardboard, one of which had writing like a diary. The cart was sheltered by a heavy-duty yellow tarp, except for the top, which was half uncovered, revealing a small, mix-breed dog in a tattered “dog purse”. 

The light changed, and we crossed and awaited the second light to change so we both could cross once again. While waiting, the woman looked at the palm of her hand for some reason. Her hands were rougher than a construction worker's.  Her face appeared clean, yet weathered. She didn't seem to notice me looking at her. I tried to get the dog's attention, cuz that’s what I do, but the dog did not even look my way.

The light changed, and I hurried across the street, much faster than the woman with the cart. I was thinking how difficult she must have it, how neat she appeared and how well-mannered the dog was. I could tell that she didn't have much, but she took pride in what she did have. Also, she did not appear to be a pan handler. Once across the street, I waited for the woman to cross, reached into my pocket and offered her all the cash I had, maybe 40 bucks. She could only see the singles in the small folded wad of cash, but her eyes lit up; she smiled and graciously said thank you. The best part …. Her dog, who must have been reading its master, started wagging its tail and looked me straight in the eyes with a doggy smile if I have ever seen one.

You know, I never realized that this was what Barb was looking to accomplish until driving home later in the afternoon. I must say, it felt good to fulfill her birthday wish, but much better to see the look on the faces of the woman and her dog.  Although I had done something for them, they had done even more for me. 

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! 

If you would like to share your experience, feel free to email it to me, and I'll share it in a future post. I know we're not supposed to toot our own horns on stuff like this, but I love hearing about people being impacted by reaching out to others, and I don't have to share your name. Thanks.

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