I needed a few things at the grocery store today, dog food, dog bones, some ham and sliced cheese. I got the chance to speak with John, an elderly man who bags groceries there. I hadn’t seen him in several weeks. Health wise it has been a tough year for John. He has missed a lot of work and has had a number of health problems. But as he always reminds me, he doesn’t do this for the money he works so that he won’t rot away sitting in his lazy boy recliner in front of the television.
Walking out I looked over at the picnic tables under the awning. My friend Kevin, a guy my age with some mental challenges likes to ride his bicycle to the store and sit at one of the tables. I always tell him that the only reason he is there is so he can watch the pretty ladies come in and out which makes him blush. Today, no Kevin, but another man was sitting there alone. I acknowledge him with a hello as I passed by.
As I was finishing loading up my car I noticed the man was coming towards me. Rather than rushing to get in and drive away I walked towards. He asked if I had any spare change. I lied and told him I didn’t, but I told him if he was hungry I would buy him a sandwich to eat.
Now I have made this offer more times than I can remember. I am always very specific about what I am willing to purchase. I have had people tell me to f*ck off. I have had people tell me they need bacon, lunch meat, detergent, or soda all things they can take back to the neighborhood and sell. But today, I met man who simply wanted something to eat.
I asked him to go into the store with me so he could choose a sandwich that he wanted. When I asked if there was anything else he wanted to eat he told me no this was enough. I offered to buy him a bag of chips and a drink, every sandwich deserves chips and a soda I told him with a smile. He returned the smile and picked out the chips he wanted and a bottle of water.
He stood in line with me at the check out and walked out of the store with me. I handed the bag to him and told him thank you for allowing me to help him today. He didn’t understand. You see, I realize that there are people you try to take advantage of those of us who are soft-hearted as my wife likes to call me. I struggle with this. I do my best to weed out those “professionals” who pry on people like me. I am not perfect at it and sometimes I get taken advantage of. But I am not in a position to judge someone’s circumstance. I would, at the end of the day rather be wrong than blow off someone who really needs a small piece of the many blessings I have been granted.
Today, I think I met someone who needed something to eat. Maybe I am wrong but then again, maybe I was right.