April 08, 2011

acts of kindness

Sometimes I think I have too many rules
or the way that people should be.

I think there are certain ways to act
and interract
and I think it gets in the way of me seeing how people really are.

On my brief walk from the subway to my office this morning
I witnessed something that made me think I deserved a slap on the wrist.

I walk by Tim Horton's
and there's usually a homeless man who sits outside on a milk crate
asking for money and chatting with people he's gotten to know.

This morning he was there
and, truth be told, I usually walk behind him because I don't want to be asked for change
or be the recipient of some comment that I don't wish to hear.

As I passed by I heard him say,
"Hello, pretty girl"
and I turned to see this young woman go over to him.

She had two cups in her hand.
She put some change in his cup and handed him one of the cups.

"Coffee?" he said. "You got me coffee?"

"Yes", she said

"I don't drink coffee."

"It will keep you warm, " she said.

"I don't drink coffee" he said again.

The nerve, I thought!

He should just take what she's giving him and be grateful for it!

But she didn't even blink. She also didn't share my outrage.
Instead, she offered him the other cup.
The one intended for herself.

"Tea?" she said.
"Oh yes," he said. "I'll take the tea."

And in that moment, I saw such goodness in her
it made me feel ashamed at my own instinct
that this man should just accept whatever he's being given
even if it's something he would never choose for himself.
That he should be grateful that anyone was giving him anything at all.

But in her, I saw such a moment of beauty
because her instinct was to give
not to judge.

So I slapped my wrist
and made my way here
to share this moment
to try to remember it so next time,
maybe I'll see the whole thing differently.


LifeBegins@Thirty said...

Thank you for sharing that story. I don't really know what else to say but thanks.

Jane's Next Door said...

Your comment made my day Janice! :)

flynnsh said...

A beautiful an illuminating story. Thanks!

ediebeehive said...

that's huge. wow. i think you've hit some major stuff in this! v. beautiful by v. beautiful.