Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Bum

I was driving to work and I noticed a lady running through a large field away from a parking lot towards nothing, except a steep hill on which the exit ramp for the expressway sits. I'm pondering for a minute, "What the heck is she doing? She must be chasing a paper that's blown away? Am I not seeing a dog that got loose? What the heck is she doing?" She starts up the hill and I notice a cup of coffee in her hand (Starbucks) and then I see the man who regularly holds the sign "Homeless. Will work for food." at that exit ramp.

We have virtually no people holding signs where I live. I've seen three here total in my life that I can recall. This guy is fairly regular to that corner now though so I've seen him at least 10 times standing there. Well, she ran up that hill with the Starbucks coffee and he walked over to meet her. She handed it over, said something simple and ran back to her car (at least a quarter mile away). I teared up a bit. I've been to Chicago countless times. I'm not totally numb but when you're visiting Chicago you generally try to not notice "them". You can't help them all. It'd be impossible. So it's almost easier to just ignore them. Then you see this one guy in your town. You didn't help the others why should you stop to help him? Anyway who know's his story? I certainly can't employ him. Ugh.

I guess sometimes his story doesn't matter. I doubt she was giving him her coffee. She probably went to the Starbucks right across the street from that parking lot and purposefully purchased it for him. That took some thought, some effort, some time... and then she ran through a field and up a hill. The only bit of the story that she seemed to consider is that a sad mad was standing on a cold corner with a sign. She thought, "I bet he'd like some coffee." And then she gave him some. 

I guess all I'm saying is that I want to do a little extra, like that. I may be in debt (like a crazy fool). I may have a tight budget. I may need to reign in the spending (every minute of every day because I'm a sad sorry sap who can't seem to grow up). But I want to always care and always DO a little extra. I think we really need to keep our eyes open in order to make that happen and for that matter be prepared to say "yes, I'll do it" when the opportunity presents its self.

I don't want to be a bum just ignoring or for that matter not noticing. I want to be a weirdo running through a field towards nothing, metaphorically speaking. Hmm, what might I do "differently" today for someone else's benefit?


  1. I love in a small rural town. If there are homeless people here, they don't stand on the roadsides with signs. But I have taken the school crossing guard a hot chocolate on a cold day, left a bag of M&Ms in the mail box with a thank you note for my mailman, and given a cold Coke to the guy holding the "stop" sign in road construction. An act of kindness doesn't have to cost much, but apparently all of mine contain sugar! :o)

    1. i love that all of your acts of kindness contain sugar. sounds good to me!

  2. I read a blog somewhere a while back and thought it would be something I would like to do. They kept "Homeless" boxes in there car for just such occasions. A blanket, food items, extra shoes, warm clothing, things like that. That way they were always prepared when they saw the occasional homeless person. I thought , what an awesome idea, frugal to us but could mean the world of difference to someone else.

    What a blessing to be a witness to such a beautiful random act of kindness!

  3. That's amazing. We have a few homeless people in our town too, and after reading this, I'll have to make an effort to be a crazy person running through a field with a cup of coffee.

  4. I love the ideas in the comments. And, the story of the woman bringing that coffee made my day. What a wonderful & kind thing to do. Small, but meaningful.

  5. What a powerful reminder that we all need to reach out more. I want to be Christs hands extended.
    Thanks for this post. are the kind of neighbour I long to be.