I went to Best Buy with the intention of buying a new laptop and camera, but I failed to realize the store closes at 9 and when I got there it was around 9:15. I was a little disappointed about not being able to buy what I needed, so I decided not to waste my trip and buy some much-needed gas for the next day. As am pumping the gas a middle-aged man, limping, walked up next to me and asked me if I had eight bucks to spare so he could catch the bus (I know what some of you’ll are thinking because it ran through my mind as well). He said he was a vet and felt like no one was willing to help him. To be honest, I wanted to give him something, but I didn’t have any cash.
I struggled with whether it’s worth it for me to go to the ATM and assist this gentleman with some cash. Again, I wrestled back and forth with the questions I think we all struggle with when a homeless person or someone who has fallen on hard times asks us for money. Are they hustling me? Is he going to use it for what he says he’s going to use it for etc. At that moment my heart told me that it didn’t matter whether he used it for what I gave it to him for or whether if he was even telling the truth or not. I could sit there all night and question the authenticity of his need, or I could make a choice based on compassion and the intention to help another human being without wanting or needing anything in return. Regardless of whether he was telling me the truth or not I had to let go of my doubt’s and my ego and listen carefully to my heart. Not only did I feel strongly to listen to my heart but the WHAT IF scenario echoed too loudly in my mind.
WHAT IF he was being genuine and just needed someone to look out for him this one time so he can get to where he needed to be. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to someone because of our past experiences of mistrust or the feeling of being taken advantage of. At that moment I had to remind myself of the human connection and the moments of life where I didn’t have anything, and others were there to pick me up and help me along. For me, this experience was a good reminder of the beauty and INTERCONNECTEDNESS that links us all. There’s just no telling where the thread of me helping someone out with eight bucks might end up, and that’s the beauty of it all.
We never know how a moment of authentic kindness can change someone’s life.