So, I have a tale to tell. We… my husband, my youngest son and myself… had just gotten done with a very busy weekend. It was one of those rounds of errands. We had a long awaited haircut for my teenager. I told the stylist we had came in with a daughter and were leaving with a son. Yes, we had let him experiment. Bad idea! Only problem with boys with long hair is they don’t generally know how to care for it. So it gets stringy and greasy and always looks uncombed. So yes, mama’s happy.
Then we had to hit up Kmart to buy a new backpack for him. The old one was from over a year ago, but he had loved it so much that he wanted to keep it as long as possible. Well then the straps gave out. Time for a new one for sure! Surprisingly the bag itself still looks great!!!
And finally we had an overdue trip to the grocery store. You know the one where you are mentally
calculating how much money you have budget-wise, with how much you need to get, with how much space you have remaining in the fridge and freezer!
We were all done and packed into the car and heading home at last. Satisfied with the days achievements; I saw a man sitting by the parking lot stop sign, realizing he was one of those panhandler people.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I make no assumptions or judgments about people. Or at least that is what I strive for. But there are those out there who do this as a side “job” I know. And I am often caught in that conundrum of thinking “should I or shouldn’t I” in case he is a junkie or alchie… but then I think well it is possible that he is… but on the other hand its equally possible that he isn’t.
So I usually just have to trust my instincts.
The man at the stopsign held a small cardboard sign. It was written on in big block letters and the words made me think.
Thats what the sign said. So I took a look at him. I saw it in his eyes. He did look hungry. To me he did.
Now, I don’t believe starving is the word for it, and I don’t think most of us here in the USA really have known much of hunger in our lifetimes. And yes, I am aware that locally we have several agencies where he could go, as well as two local food bank co-ops, but maybe he wasn’t local.
And I thought about us being able to go drop a twenty on my sons hair, when we COULD have just whacked it at home, I dunno prolly woulda taken the weedwhacker, but anyways. And then the nice new backpack. And I had picked up some more canning jars as well. I knew I had a good 3/4’s in the gastank for the week. And then I recalled all that fresh food we had just got, and at a good discount at the Grocery Outlet, one of our favorite stores.
So I brought my husbands attention to it. And he said yeah, poor guy! And I said we should maybe give him something. And he said mmmm. And I said we could give him a few of those fresh local organic apples we just got. I only need a few for my apple cider vinegar. Again he said yeah. Then I said, and maybe a few bananas.
Uh oh. Wrong thing to say.
You see, while we were at the stopsign and waiting for traffic and having our discussion and starting down the main road all the while saying how this poor guy was JUST HUNGRY… well my guys were hungry too!!!
Poor things… we were rushing home to get a late lunch. And I don’t know about your men, but my boys get GRUMPY!!! So talking about food, and stopping again and making it even longer until they get to eat was just making the situation worse.
Yeah, I get it NOW!!! Not really then. Cuz like I told them… I saw his eyes!!! He looked hungry! And I just kept insisting that! And I stated flatly and factually that there were probably very few people who were willing to humiliate themselves and sit there out in the hot sun and hold that sign with just the ground to sit on UNLESS they were really hungry.
Finally my son said “Never argue with a woman when she’s angry; you just cant win”.
Man, I love that kid. And I wasn’t angry at all. I was just insistent.
So we went maybe half a mile down the road still arguing about it all the way until I finally stopped and told my husband to jump back there, grab a bag, throw a few apples and bananas in it, along with a few dollar bills, and we will whip back over and just hand it out the window.
And he said “yes! Lets do it!”
So thats what we did. No I didnt want to see the gratitude from the man. I didnt need his thanks. I whipped around, did a quick “U’ ee” (how do ya spell that???) and let my husband hand him the bag from the passenger side.
As we drove away, I felt so much better, and not for the normal reasons. Just because I had let my convictions rule my actions. I did what I felt was right and necessary in the situation.
Now I see that I was also clearly being an excellent role model for my son. Even to the point of fighting with my whole family, I still managed to firmly and quietly get the point across.
After all, I told them… we all live in this world together. My Momma told me you gotta feed hungry people. And he was just hungry.