I was in the grocery store about 2 months ago, right before a bad snowstorm hit. Like everyone else, I was stocking up on essentials. I saw a guy in a wheelchair who was obviously living hard. He smelled and looked like he hadn’t had a good shower or shave in several days. As we made our way through the store I noticed our paths were kris-crossing. On one aisle I heard him telling another man that he had inadvertently brought the wrong wallet with him and he didn’t have enough cash to cover his purchase.
I wanted to do something, so I turned around and went behind a shelf where I could look in my wallet. I don’t often have cash, but that day I had $5. I figured that would be enough to get him a box of cereal and a half gallon of milk at least. I started down the next aisle, knowing he would be coming from the opposite direction. When I got down to the milk cooler, I stuck out my hand and passed the $5 to him saying, “I hope this helps.” I started to walk past him (mostly because I was about to cry) and he turned around and said, “Thank you. What’s your name? I’m Ron.” He told me the story I’d already heard and thanked me again.
Why did I do it? I couldn’t bear the thought of knowing I could make his day a little easier and then not follow through with it. I don’t know his story, but I’ve seen enough folks to know that people who have everything they need don’t show up at the grocery store hours before a snowstorm without having bathed for days, then set about very carefully selecting just the right items. I like to think I am part of a community of people who care for others, and the best way I can ensure that is to actually do it.