Sharing my life and love of cross stitch. Thoughts about this and that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What does a dollar mean to you?

I did something I always do, then something I hardly ever do last night. I'd gone to Walmart for fish food and a battery for my smoke alarm, etc. My total bill was $14.00, including $2.99 for a 1/2 gallon of Blue Bell Coffee Ice Cream, that as a diabetic I shouldn't be eating to begin with. As I'm walking to the car a small and thin older man with beard in a long-sleeve plaid shirt, the kind of thin older man you might see on the streets or at a homeless shelter, approached carefully and called out "Ma'am, would you have 85 cents for bus fare?" Never slowing down, I called back over my shoulder, "Sorry, can't help you." Before I even got to my car, I was having second thoughts. I sat and watched in the rear view mirror for a couple of minutes as he cautiously approached 2 or 3 other shoppers who walked by totally ignoring him, and thought: he was polite, he wasn't THAT straggly, and he asked for just 85 cents - to catch a bus. (There's a bus stop right next to the store.) And I thought, what's 85 cents mean to me these days? What does a single dollar mean? Heck, I just spent 3 of them on something I'm not even supposed to eat. I found one in the bottom of my purse, backed out and drove over the 2 rows in time to see 2 other people quickly walk past him. I called out "Hey, sir, here I have this," and held the bill out my window. He took it carefully and stroked it like it was precious. His shoulders lifted in a really deep sigh, like a weight had been lifted. He said "Thank you so much, ma'am. You saved me a whole lot of walking." Because of the location of the store, he likely meant many miles. I told him he was welcome and drove off. I felt good about it and by the time I got to the parking lot exit I was choked up. That dollar meant so little to me, who nonetheless is trying to scrimp on them, and apparently so much to him at that moment - whether or not he used it for bus fare. I said a little thank you that I was blessed to be able to do something so inconsequential that meant so much to someone else.

Then I wished I had given him the $5 instead. One measly dollar seemed just not enough.


Anna S. said...

Hi Linda!! Finally got here and will be coming back.. I'll read thoroughly your previous posts next week-end, when fiiiiiinally in Norway... and I owe you a long e-mail reply too!! Sorry for the silence, it is insane here on my side. And now a "paralysed" face nerve too after the wisdom tooth extraction. Soooo happy and it's only going to last 6-9 months! Take care, thinking of you!

Rachel S said...

Thank you for sharing that.

Valerie said...

You know, up until not such a long time ago, I would have walked past that man, too. But since Michael's accident, and experiencing the awesome goodness and generosity of so many people, it makes me look at situations like this very differently. I don't hand money to everyone who asks, but I definitely do it more often.

I'm convinced that we all need to stop depending on government and corporate America and rely more on each other - People helping people, that's the way to go!!