As I ran back across the crosswalk, I hastily wiped tears from my eyes. I felt glad that I had done something, but I also felt an immeasurable sadness that I couldn’t do more.
You see folks, when I was driving to see my friend, I saw a woman sitting near the freeway ramp. Her sign said, “Need work, homeless and hungry”. Signs like these are not uncommon, the recession has hit some people very hard. These are difficult times, and unfortunately someone somewhere is always struggling.
But there were a couple reasons why she stood out to me.
First of all, her sign asked for work, not money. To me, that shows a person who is willing to put forth effort and “earn their keep” for lack of better words. This isn’t a person just sitting on the street asking for handouts. (Though I can’t pass judgment on these individuals either, I don’t know their life stories.)
Secondly, she and I happened to be hungry at the same time. I felt horrible knowing that, while I could drive somewhere and buy myself food to satiate that hunger, she would not likely be able to do the same.
Thirdly, she looked really sad and lonely sitting there. She looked like a person who was just at the bottom of their luck.
Seeing her there, I couldn’t just drive away and do nothing.
However, the light had turned green and I was in the lane farthest away from her. So, I made my turn and then proceeded to park in a nearby lot of a shopping center. I got some money out of my wallet and started to walk over there.
I wasn’t really sure how I was going to walk over to the freeway ramp without getting run over, but then spotted a crosswalk that led to the ramp.
As I walked over to her, I felt nervous. What would I say to her? How would I approach her? Would she possibly be angry that I was giving her money, since she was asking for a job?
Then I reached her.
She turns around, and I’m shocked that someone can look so young and so old at the same time.
“I can’t give you a job, but I have ten dollars. I hope that things turn out better for you.”
She starts to tear up, and says thank you.
As I turn to walk back across the crosswalk, she says, “It was really nice of you to walk all the way out here.”
I kind of shrug my shoulders, because it doesn’t seem that way in my book. In my mind, it’s simply something that one should do for another human being in a time of need. It’s not “being nice”. It’s called “being human”.
As I walk away, I start to cry. I’m happy that I did something that I thought was right, but I’m so sad that I can’t do more. I’m sad that someone has to go through something like that. I’m sad because I can only offer her ten dollars, and not a long term solution.
But I have to remember that unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to “save” people right now. People go through rough times, and we can’t always protect them from that. But I can feel happy in the fact that I probably made that woman’s day. Ten dollars is nothing, and will buy her very little. But I saw her. And I made the effort to walk out there and give it to her. Even though I didn’t give her much financially, I feel like I was able to comfort and console someone who felt like they were at their worst.
In the end, hope is one of the best things that you can give.
Today, try and go out of your way to do something kind for someone. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how insignificant the action may seem. Sometimes the smallest things can mean the world to someone.