Did I Just Purchase Kindness?

In Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random on February 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Today I had a very simple encounter with a stranger. I do not know his story, or even his name. But I do know that he doesn’t have a home.

I first met this man about two weeks ago. I was bundled up against the freezing wind walking the block or so from my company’s parking lot to the office building. I stopped at the street to wait for traffic to clear and I saw him. He was wrapped in layers upon layers and I remember thinking “at least he’s warm.” I looked down at my $4 coffee and my dressy shoes and desperately wanted to cross the street and make it inside the building before he got close.

That didn’t happen. By the time traffic cleared and I ran across, he was close enough to call out to me. He called my “lady” and his voice was gruff. I knew I couldn’t just avoid him. I rarely ever carry cash, and for a second I considered just handing him my coffee. I’m always very cautious if giving money anyways, you always here that it More than likely just goes to drugs.

When I turned to him, he looked…tired. That was all. Just very worn and he leaned against the wall of the building as he asked me for a cigarette. I apologized since I don’t smoke and he said “that’s ok.” Then he asked me if I had anything I could spare to help him out. I wasn’t sure. Then I remembered that I had one single dollar bill floating in the bottom of my purse. It’s just a dollar, but its all I have on me. He said that was ok. I dug it out and handed it to him, apologizing again for not having more to help. He thanked me and resumed walking.

I thought about this and wondered if I had just helped a man down on his luck to get a sandwich or if I had just fed into an addiction that had landed him here in the first place. A friend said no matter, my intentions were good an therefore I had just done a good deed. Another said I had been tricked. I chalked it up to nothing other than being a dollar short than I was 5 minutes ago and that was the end of it.

But when I left my office this morning and was making the walk back to the parking lot, he was there again. I watched him go into a business and was close enough to hear him chatting. He emerged a moment later with a can of Coca Cola in his hand. I have a slight nod and smile to him as we passed and that’s web it happened. He smiled back and me and said hello. He still looked tired, but not as much as last time. And he told me to have a great day. I thanked him and wished him the same, and he offered me the can he was holding. I thanked him again but told him I would pass, and he simply said “ok,” opened it, took a drink, and went on his way. And I couldn’t help but smile.

This man who has only what’s on his back was willing to give me his drink. Was it because I have him a dollar? Did my dollar help him feel better or put him in a better mood? Did he even remember that we had talked before? I have no idea. But either way, he made me feel better and that might be one of the best dollars I’ve ever spent.

  1. Many who have nothing will give everything. Most who have everything will give nothing.


  2. I feel the same way about giving money to homeless people because I worry and don’t want to feed those bad addictions. I always want so badly for them to use the money that they’re given, to pick themselves up enough to do something about their situation but you can never be certain in these cases. You just hope for the best.

    But I do believe in karma and sometimes just giving them the chance to do the right thing makes you feel so good, especially if they do use the money for food and the like.

    I had one occasion where I offered a woman a couple dollars because that was all I had and she got ANGRY with me because it wasn’t something like a $20 bill!

    Then there was another that was totally the opposite. There is this one man who always stands (not sits!) at the same spot near the same store and he always just looks so sad. Oh! I take it back, two occasions with this man! We saw him at a taco bell just down the street so I bought him lunch and he was so sweet, he even prayed over the meal. Then on the second occasion I had bought a water at the store, but when I saw him, I gave him the un-opened bottle and he thanked me again. Now whenever I see him in his spot, he always looks up, very timidly, and says hello.

    Sometimes, those are the best moments of your day ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Reblogged this on awayfarday.


  4. how lovely….it it the good intention behind giving a dollar…now matter what the people will do with it, it is your good intention which counts and it will come back to you in millions…


  5. That’s always the risk, I guess. I once got tricked by a guy who helped me and my wife figure out how to work this strange parking meter thing in Florida. We were seeing a friend do stand-up comedy and when we left the club, the ‘homeless’ guy was getting into a BMW parked a few spots down from us. On the other hand, I gave food to a homeless man who was blind from a knife-attack and he was incredibly thankful. As someone said in an early comment, karma will work things out. You do a good deed when you can to rack up good karma and if the person is conning you then they’ll rack up back karma.


  6. My dad taught me to listen to my gut instinct – it sounds like you did likewise, and so did your mystery man. You probably made his day, and it sounds like he made yours too. Great post!


  7. Gives a better view on being nice and kind to people, whether you know them or not.
    Thank you for sharing. I have new things to think about today.

    Well done too, for taking the time to do instead of not.


  8. That was such a beautiful lil story. The kinds that bring a smile to your face instantly.enjoyed reading it.



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