Pass It On

By A Friend • February 8, 2021

The following was written as a comment in a reply to a social media post about a random act of kindness. We thought it was worth sharing here:

Several years ago I had loaned a girl I was seeing some cash as she needed some work done to her car. We eventually split up but remained friends. About a month after the split she sent me a card thanking me for helping out and repaid me, which I had never expected from her. The $250 she gave me was nice to have, but honestly was not needed nor did I expect her to repay me. About a week after I had been given this cash I went on a late night food run at Denny's with a friend, I encountered a homeless man who was taking shelter from the less than pleasant weather we were having at the time. The homeless man who was sitting at a table next to us was told by the waitress he couldn't be there if he didn't order anything. I overheard him ask how much a cup of coffee was, counted the few dollars he had in his pocket, and semi begrudgingly ordered coffee so he could stay inside.

As I heard all of this, and thinking of the cash I had just received but didn't need, I thought of the various stories like this post I had heard and felt this might be someone I could help. So I engaged the man in some conversation, because I know most people who are homeless don't get the benefit of casual conversation very often. I learned he was 45 and had previously worked as a tree trimmer off the books for cash. Unfortunately about a year prior he fell while working and badly hurt his back and was no longer able to work until he got his back medically addressed. After about 10-15 minutes of conversation I told him that if he felt comfortable accepting my offer, I would buy him whatever food off the menu he wanted. He resisted because he didn't want to trouble me and put me out of money.

I insisted he accept my offer because everyone deserves a warm meal. He eventually accepted and ordered something simple.. After he finished eating, and my friend and I finished eating, I again engaged him for a few mins of conversation asking some additional questions about his future and what he was doing for work. After paying the bills for the food, I pulled the $250 cash out of my wallet and folded it into my pocket. As my friend and I got up to leave he again thanked me for the kindness and the conversation. I shook his hand, looked him dead in the eye, and handed him the $250. I told him he's a good man who has had some terrible luck and nothing more. And that hopefully this would be a big step in a better direction for him. He started tearing up and insisted he get my address or phone number so he could repay me some day. I told him that I once was in a bad spot and someone helped me, telling me the same thing I now am telling him. That how he can repay me is some day when he sees someone who needs help and he's in a position to help, to help.

I wished him the best in his path forward, and left to take my friend home.

We can either wait for someone else to take action to help make the world around us better, or we can do it ourselves. I'm not the type to sit and wait.

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