Blind Woman Who Was Lost And A Homeless Man Who Was Found
Jun 3, 2016
On the way to a meeting today, I saw a blind woman who looked a bit lost. I wanted to reach out but was a bit hesitant since I didn't want to sound patronizing. In my heart, I wished her well, and lo and behold, right as I crossed her, she blurts out, "Excuse me, can you help me?" She was indeed lost, trying to looking for the bus stop, and I gently moved her around so she could walk in the right direction. It was a very small act, actually, but I felt so happy that she could read my heart. I feel indebted that she received my invisible offering, before even asking me for help.
It was a long, full day. By the end of the night, I decided to get some pizza. (My food choices decidedly deteriorate when my wife is away. :)) It's a very sketchy pizza joint that I used to frequent in my college days, and every so often, I still go there to feel young. :) In front of me in line was a homeless looking man. We casually connected. At a talk to entrepreneurs earlier today, one fellow asked me, "Would you give money to homeless person, even when you know he's going to use it to buy alcohol?" I replied, "If all I was giving was money, it'd be one thing. But for me, whenever I do give money, that's just the wrapping. The real gift is hidden inside -- it's love. And I haven't never found any reason to limit gifts of love. Every one needs love, and there's ample supply left to give." It also got me thinking about how we judge others by their actions, but ourselves by our intentions.
Back in the pizza line, this man was counting the few dollars bills in his hand, over and over again, until it was his turn to order. In my mind, I decided get him a slice. Just then, he tells the young woman behind the counter: "I'll have the full cheese pizza." "Full?" she countered. "It's really big," she added, although what she really meant to say is that it'd be too expensive for him. "Yeah, the full." "$18.65," she submitted. The bills he was counting weren't going to make it. Somehow, though, he dipped into one of those hidden pockets -- that seemed to be reserved for a rainy day -- and pulled out a twenty. I wasn't intending to get the whole pizza for him, but thinking back to my conversation with the entrepreneurs, I realized that money was really just the wrapping.
I made my move. "Can you charge that pizza with my order?" I said to the cashier. "Really?" the homeless looking man said. "Really?", the young woman behind the counter repeated. "Yes, really." Me and that disheveled man had a sweet silent moment. To his silent question of why I was doing it, I added, "Just pay it forward for someone else." And he said, "Well, you know what? I was actually treating these five guys out there." He was actually paying it forward, in the first place! What a stroke of perfect serendipity, to get a chance to be a part of a homeless man's act of kindness.
Perhaps the blind woman felt my invisible intent to help, perhaps it helped me feel the homeless man's invisible intent of doing an act of kindness. I can't always draw straight lines between all the events of my day, but I often get a strange suspicion that it's all very profoundly inter-connected.