I was in the car waiting for M yesterday and noticed a thin man maybe in his 40s with a shopping cart sitting in front of a DQ. He was drinking a big plastic cup of ice water and talking to himself. I could hear his conversation, sometimes as if someone else were there and sometimes he was addressing God. Two plastic bags of what seemed like meager belongings sat on the outdoor table in front of him, and another in the cart.
I observed him the entire time M was inside a store and thought about how we have not done a good job for the mentally ill and those without homes. I thought about the people who had no recourse. Or who would not accept help. Yes, solutions are not always simple. But we have to do better.
When M returned I nodded toward the guy, and knowing I didn’t have my bag, he reached in his wallet for some money, got out, handed it to him and said “Please get some dinner.” I heard the guy thank M, then go “woo hoo!” and carefully place the bill in a zippered plastic case.
“Any of us is one hard fall from this,” M said, as he pulled away. And that is the point.
In these situations I always think about the day I was with my beautiful, kind, late girlfriend. In front of the drugstore was an unkempt young guy with his dog, obviously on hard times. I reached into my purse, emptied my wallet and gave him the bills.
“What if he uses it to buy drugs?” she asked.
“What if he doesn’t?” I responded.
Maybe he did or maybe he didn’t. I wasn’t going to interrogate him on his intentions. I just saw a man who clearly loved his dog and was in need.
As M and I drove away from the older man I thanked him.
“Well,” he said. “You know how the song goes. ‘Maybe he’s an angel…’”
This world needs more kindness and less judgment. Opportunities to be kind appear every day. If you have a chance to do a# kindness, I hope you will. And this weekend, it could begin with by helping Maui fire victims. See my post from last week on how/where. But I am certain you will run across people in need.
Or rather, mahalo. And here’s the song. I defy you to get through it without tears.