Compassion at the Intersection: Lesson I Learned from a Beggar

Compassion at the Intersection: Lesson I Learned from a Beggar

Today started with a fabulous early morning workout and a coffee meeting with a friend to chat about life’s adventures! As I am exiting the ramp, waiting at the light that just turned red heading to Starbuck’s, I see a man standing there a bit over dressed for this mid summer July weather. He seemed a bit weathered and disheveled. He was holding a cardboard sign, which read, “Out of work. I need to feed my children. Please help!”

I live about 40 minutes outside of the city and see that often in the city. I don’t see this much in my neck of the woods. The ramp exit light only lasts about 2 minutes at the longest. My mind begins racing! Do I give him money? What will he do with the money? Does he REALLY have children? Is he just a lazy man looking for others to support him? My A.D.D. mind works over time in about 30 seconds! Well, I reach for my purse, pull out $5.00 and give my horn a quick beep to signal him over to the car. He humbly walks over, eyes gazing downward and reaches meekly for the $5.00.  Our eyes connect as he says, “God Bless You! Thank you!” I see a sweeping somberness in his eyes, as though tears were going to flow if he stayed at the car window any longer.

I am NOT at all sharing this story to pat myself on the back and prove what a wonderful person I am!! That is NOT the intent of this blog today! I guess it’s a reflection on the human spirit and what life can do to someone to put them in a situation to be asking total random strangers for money. Was he out of work? Does he have children he had to feed? Was he going to use the money to buy drugs?

None of that is really my concern! If I take the notion that he is genuinely telling the truth, and that he is in a less fortunate place than I am, then I think I did a decent deed today for someone in need. The Karma of the universe will get some positivity back to me sooner or later. I’m just wondering and feeling a bit saddened to see that life can deal out less than a good hand of cards to some or is it choices that we make that put us where we are?

Do you think he REALLY wants to be standing out there begging, asking, pleading for money?? I would say NOT. I don’t think he grew up with that to be his life’s aspiration as a young boy. He probably wanted to be a baseball player, policeman or veterinarian. Something obviously didn’t quite go the way he planned!  Somewhere along his journey the wind got knocked out of him.  His drive and motivation was washed away.

As I drove off to my morning java and my friend, I truly thought about the words and the energy I felt as he said, “God Bless You! Thank you!” The way I felt as he shared those words was well worth the $5.00 I handed over to him.  I truly believe he was grateful for that $5.00.

As I write this blog, I am grateful for sitting here on this beautiful day with a job and money to buy food (holding back tears because I am NOT wearing waterproof mascara)! I ask you friends to be compassionate to others. We don’t know their stories or their struggles. Help when you can! It’s an AMAZING feeling. You may not be where you want to be in life at this very moment, but I bet you’re better then you used to be! If you're reading this I bet you are better off than the man asking for money at the intersection.

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