There is a lot of turmoil in the world right now. It has many questioning the belief that people are essentially good. I will share an experience this week, that I hope inspires you to be the good you are trying to find in others.
I left my dance bag at work one day. I didn’t realize it until I got to the dance studio, so I had to go all the way back to get it (granted, it is only a few miles, so it is just a mild inconvenience).
After I grabbed my bag and got back in the car, I decided to take a different route back to dance. On this different route, I saw a lady standing on the corner in a parking lot with a boy about 10-12 years old sitting in the grass.
I don’t know what made her stand out to me. Maybe she reminded me of my mother for a moment.
She was holding a sign asking for help. She didn’t look like your “typical homeless” person, but I have seen more and more since recent economic issues cause layoffs. Two others were across the street on different corners. This economy is hard.
I couldn’t stop right where I was, so I went across the street and turned around. I could have just turned right and gone on my way, but something in me did not. My brain had zeroed in on her.
I get back to the parking lot and I see her and her child heading to the car. She tosses the sign in the back of the car with such disgust and despair emanating from her body. I don’t want her to drive away so I toot my horn as I pull up.
I get out of the car and her face looks so confused but grateful. She is crying as I hand her all the Christmas cash savings I had in my wallet. We are by a fast food restaurant and I ask, “Do you want to get something to eat?” She hesitates, and does say “yes.”
She is not alone. Children and an older man (I assume to be the woman’s father) are in the car.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, the restaurant is only open for drive thru. I tell her to order whatever they want and to tell the person I am paying for it behind them. They go through the line and I order the same thing they do to give them a double order.
At the window, they have the lady pull forward to wait for the food. I tell the cashier that I am paying for both orders and all the food is to go to that car. The teens/young adults who are running the food, say “ALL the food to that car?” and roll their eyes. All I think is that I really do hope they never have to know what this lady is going through.
As they wait for their food, I pull up alongside and say, “I should have asked before, but do you need gas?”
The lady hesitates. I know she is thinking “I can’t take more” but she also knows that she needs gas in the car.
So, I tell them to pull over to the gas station when they get the food and I will wait there.
The man comes out of the car to pump the gas after I put my credit card in. He asks me, “What do you want me to put in it?” He had to ask me twice because I just was not understanding the question. So I said, “Gas.” And they all laughed. He clarified that I had already done so much, how much money to put in. Ohhh….I was totally clueless trying to understand that question. But I told him to fill it.
As he is pumping gas, I turn to the lady and say, “I’m Kim, by the way.” She tells me her name and then proceeds to tell me her story.
She tells me they should never have been in this situation. She had a good job and money for a place to live - until she was scammed out of $5000. She put the money down to rent a house, but the guy never showed up with the key. Then the property owner showed up and said he had no idea but it was his house and not for rent. She filed the police reports but that didn’t help with immediate needs.
She has four children. She and her children lived in the woods for a bit, until her son saw a man stabbed 14 times.
She was able to contact family who said they could stay with them. So she packed what they had and started driving. Upon arrival, that offer was taken away.
So, she was stranded, with nowhere to go, and not getting a job. She told me, “I didn’t know people could be just so evil. So bad.”
I empathized with her. I suggested a couple of places that I had heard were hiring right now and she was going to go right away to apply.
I wished them well.
And I went back to my car.
What was the best thing I hope I did for them that day? It wasn’t the money or the food or the gas.
It was the laugh. For a split second, the world was ok. I hope I was able to give her a glimmer of hope, restore her faith in good people are out there.
And she did the same for me.
I debated sharing this story. I don’t share it because I am seeking credit or accolades or anything. I usually prefer to keep these things quiet.
However, with all the negativity going on, people are getting discouraged. People are losing hope in humanity.
You can be that hope for someone. Be that hero. You don’t have to give money or things. Just share a smile; give yourself. Be open to allowing others to encourage your life as you encourage them.
I wish you a great week! Keep dancing forward!