Many years ago, too many to remember, I started a family question that we took turns asking each other during dinner; "What was the best part of your day?" A few years ago I decided to add an additional question; "What is something nice you did for some else today?" Why? a few reasons, first, it helps us each to stay connected and learn about each other, second; it reminds us to get over ourselves and reach out. Sometimes our ‘niceness’ is simply helping someone pick up their spilled crayons. Lots of deeds might be performed annonymously and sometimes it extends a bit further.
Halloween Friday Abi and I stopped in at Wendy’s for lunch. As we sat down to eat, two guys came in carrying all of their worldy possessions. While one headed for the restroom, the other proceeded to root through the trash for any discarded morsel he could find to eat. JACKPOT! a half order of large fries was the prize of the day. As I watched this event unfold, I looked around at my fellow diners. Some were clearly disgusted, others were very uncomfortable, shifting around and averting their eyes. One person alerted the management – BULLY! Suddenly I had no appetite. It wasn’t the young men that took it away, it was the way in which we the audience responded. I quietly reached into my purse and produced two five-dollar bills, walked over to these guys and with much eye contact and a smile said, "I’d like to buy you lunch." Were those tears? When I sat back down, Abi was embarrassed/worried/uncomfortable, a bit guilty and thankful for what she has. Good. Sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable before we can truly be comfortable.
I haven’t told this story for recognition, in fact I would rather not mention it at all, except…and here’s the big one…except that Abi has told several people, all of whom have had an opinion in the matter. Here’s the range of responses:
"They could have followed you and taken your purse.", "You put yourself and your daughter in danger.", "Those guys had no reason to be in there in the first place." "good for you." and the all time best (drumroll please)… "They probably used it to buy drugs."
While it IRKS ME TO NO END, I will not, repeat N-O-T apologize nor do anything differently in the future. Who and What are we if we can’t help our fellow man? I don’t know the ins and outs of these guys lives. Were they abused, neglected, addicted? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. All I saw was two very hungry men and I could not in good conscience ignore them. What if this was my child? Would anyone reach out to offer a hand? I am lucky in that I will never (knock on wood) have to wonder…my kids have all had the benefit of a loving home, three meals a day, warm clothing and comfy beds. We talk openly and honestly about drugs, sex, homelessness and life-choices … almost too honestly according to my nieces and nephews … Today I implore you to recognize all you have, to be thankful, remember others and make a difference. Your glass will always be half-full.
So I ask you: What is something nice you did for someone else today?