by Ends and Beginnings, which reminded me of a day with my son. Ends and beginnings is a thoughtful blog from a kind man who tries to lead through example what it means to be Christian. He doesn’t spout off all kinds of religious effluvia, he simply speaks from the heart and soul. He acts upon his beliefs and shows kindness to the world, in small ways we all can emulate, to the best of his ability. I am proud to “follow” his work.
This is the post that brought back a memory.
This is the memory
It was 1991 and I was driving my then 10 year old son to his volunteer position at the El Paso Zoo. Rich volunteered to feed animal, clean their cages and go out to schools with a Zoo employee for group show and tell. I was homeschooling the boys as the schools in our district had lost their accreditation the year before.
Rich volunteered three times a week as part of the homeschooling class on STEWARDSHIP and CITIZENSHIP. Not classes one would expect of a ten year old in the fourth grade, but we were using a broader based curricula that the public schools of that time.
I drove him to the Zoo and another homeschooling mother brought him home again. Each time I drove him there was a man on the corner of a major intersection holding up a sign that said “Homeless and hungry. Will Work for Food”.
After a week of seeing this man holding his sign my son couldn’t remain silent. He asked me “do you think we could help him? Maybe give him lunch?”. I didn’t think it was a good idea. I had come across many “homeless” who drove better cars than I and had designer sneakers or jackets that we couldn’t afford holding up signs and collecting coins in buckets. I changed the subject, and Rich dropped it.
The next day, I was driving Rich to the Zoo and we were late. instead of being able to fix him a lunch, I drove through a local hamburger joint and bought a hamburger and fries for him. Once again, on that corner stood the same “homeless” man holding his sign. Just my luck, the traffic light changed as I pulled up to the intersection and the man was standing right next to Rich’s window.
Rich rolled down the window and said “sir? You can have my lunch. You need it more than me”.
I almost cried at seeing the compassion my son had for this stranger.
I glanced up at this man I had been ignoring as my son spoke. He looked embarrassed. His face became very red and he looked like he wanted to bolt. He finally said “no thanks, son, I’m okay”, turned and walked to the nearby parking lot. As the light changed I saw the man get into a new car…and a much fancier car than I drove. I thank God my son didn’t see that man get into his car.
I never saw him on a street corner again. I hope it was my son’s innocence that affected that man and not just his own embarrassment.
You never know what another person is going through. You never know when they are cons or their reality is being alone and hungry. I would rather be on the side of angels than cynics..and I would rather be more like my son and show compassion instead of skepticism.