What Little We Can Do

I came home today and picked up my son to get a couple things from the store.  When i walked in there was a mother with her son holding up a sign, asking for donations.  I make it a habit not to give money to homeless or people asking for donations but I’ve also started making a habit that, if I see someone in need, I’ll pick up a little something extra at the grocery store, some fruit, etc, to give to someone.  Today, I thought that for the price of two beers on tap (i’m making a guess because i don’t drink anymore) I could feed her and her son.   I found a rotisserie chicken at the deli and put it in my cart.  I paid for my groceries and started walking out.

As I’m walking out, some man was giving this woman a piece of his mind.  The usual, “In America we work for a living, don’t pretend you don’t understand English.” bullshit.  I smiled to her, gave her the chicken and wished her a good night.  He didn’t turn his attention away  from her and spent a few more moments telling her basically what a shitty person she was for having to burden people with her sign.  We could still hear him as we got to the car but by the time we go to our car he started walking away.  By the time we started to pull out we saw him get into his fucking gas guzzling big ass Chevy truck.

A part of me feels like I failed this woman. I had a choice to go back and tell him to back the fuck off.  I didn’t.  A part of me feels that to have gone back from my car to this conflict would have been to have made it my own.  After I type these few words, I think that I did the right thing.  I hope that she and her son is enjoying her simple dinner.  I hope that others would view this simple act of kindness and maybe do he same.

I’m not posting this to pat myself on the back.  I remember in the movie The Constant Gardener, one of the things that was said was that you can’t make a difference in all lives, but you can make a difference in one.  So, I’m making a simple challenge to myself.  Nothing extravagant, and nothing I will do everyday, but a couple times a week.. sure.  If I see someone in need, with a sign, rather than think about how I shouldn’t give them money, I could:

  • Pick up a couple of extra pieces of fruit
  • By a can of tuna
  • Split your sandwich
  • Grab an extra 1 dollar burger at mcdonalds
  • Get a second cup of coffee

Then hand it to that person and wish them a good day.   Think about the little luxuries we have,  a beer, coffee,  trip to the fast food joint.  What small thing can we do?  Times are kind of fucked right now.  We don’t have to be radical in our approach to touch lives.  Just a little kind.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark, Good for you – and how true.
    A simple kindness can cause a great shift. Enjoyed this post.
    All the best.

  2. ciarraighli says:

    i feel exactly the same way. & it’s funny that you mention The Constant Gardener; i’ve always said that it’s not for us to fix everything, but we can certainly do what’s in front of us.

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