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An Act of Generosity Can Make a Huge Impact

An Act of Generosity Can Make a Huge Impact

The other day I decided to stop at Old Town to get a bite to eat. I ordered some enchiladas from an authentic-looking Mexican cafe. It was such a beautiful day that I decided to eat outside. I found a beautiful grassy area to eat my enchiladas.

For a few moments of pleasure pervaded by the taste of corn tortillas, cheese, and Mexican spices all combining together in my mouth, I didn’t pay much attention to the world around me… until I felt something or someone swiftly move towards me. I turned around immediately to see who or what was approaching. His clothes were blue and ragged. His curly hair, full of dirt. He wasn’t old, but his weary expression and taut features said his life experiences hadn’t been easy. He walked quickly towards me. Eyes filled with shadowy intent. I looked straight into them. My hands clutched my purse. His pace slowed down a notch. His gaze lost focus and drifted away as he walked past me.

I sat there for a moment, confounded. Was I almost robbed? Was he about to snatch my purse when I wasn’t looking? I looked around to see where he was. He had found a spot in the grassy area not too far from me. I ate in silence. Every once in a while, I peeked over to see what he was doing. Once, I saw him staring at me. Or maybe he was staring at the enchiladas all covered in cheese, surrounded by rice and beans. Maybe he was hungry. Then the thought occurred to me, “If I was in his position, would I steal my purse so I could get a bite to eat?” If I was hungry enough and out on the streets, and had no idea if and when my next meal would come… maybe. I looked over at the guy again. He was now laying down in the grass, his hands folded over his belly. Well, what if I gave him some of my food? If I were in his position, wouldn’t I want someone to hand me a few dollars, or something to eat? Since this bad economic recession, anyone could be in his position.

I closed up my styrofoam container and walked over to the man. He appeared to be sleeping, but when I got to about two feet in front of him, he jerked his head over to see who was approaching him. He sat up, and looked at me, the severity of his gaze returned, his expression solemn.

“Would you like the rest of my food?” I offered, holding out the styrofoam container for him to take.

“Yes, thank you,” he said graciously, as though a good friend of his had brought him a gift he really wanted.

He opened the container voraciously. His weary expression was replaced by pure joy and anticipation, like a young boy waking up on Christmas morning, about to find out what Santa had left him the night before. It was a half eaten enchilada, and some rice and beans! The perfect gift for a man who… well, who knows when he had his last meal! He smiled at me warmly as I left him to his feast.

Half an hour later, I saw him again. I realized that unlike the first time I ran into him, I didn’t feel the desire to clutch my purse. I let it hang loosely from my shoulder. He waved and smiled at me as if we were old friends. I returned the gesture, then walked away with a warm feeling in my heart.

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Aimee Dansereau

Aimee Dansereau is a freelance writer living in San Diego, California. She once lived in Boulder, Colorado for several years, where she received an M.F.A. in Writing and Poetics at Naropa University. Her interests include writing, natural health and medicine, organic foods and the labeling of GMOs, spirituality, yoga, meditation, environmental issues, and human rights.

61 comments

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7:53PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014

*Kindness = Win-Win

7:52PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014

Kindess = Win- Win

10:02AM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

I love the story but it would better be anonymous. True generosity, true giving, goes disguised.

5:02PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Thanks

8:22AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

I love doing nice things. Once a random guy was teasing me while I was outside eating and said, "Oh, boy, you brought me lunch!" and I said, "I can give you half my sandwich!"

And he stopped, confused. "You'd do that?"

"Sure. It's not much, but I could probably share some chips, too."

"No, no...!" he laughed. "It's just...that's just so funny..." and he walked off, laughing on and off about it like he didn't understand how someone would just /share their lunch/. But it was a good-natured laugh, so maybe he was lifted for the day. :D

5:25PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Very kind of you. But if a person is so hungry they want to steal your purse, surely they could at least ask for a couple of bucks first, before trying to steal?--Of course, if a person has been told NO twenty times, they might be desperate and no longer interested in asking. So again, thank you for your kindness....

12:03PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Lovely, thank you.

10:25AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

A nice story really. I've had good & not good experiences regarding helping those in need. I always lend an ear & I've had the most wonderful experiences from this alone. To be realistic I buy protein (vegetarian beans), veggies, fruit in a pop top can. I also have the list of shelters in our area, it is on a wallet size paper. I attach it to the beans w/ a rubber band. The last time I offered a can of each to a man he cried that they were poptops. These people are usually not criminals just lost humans & any us has that potential.

Shockingly a huge part of them are our veterans. If you find a veteran please let the local VA or VA homeless organization know so that they can find them.

There are more & more stories/blogs by homeless people. One of my favorites is "adventures of a once homeless girl". She even shows small gift bags & explains why each item is needed. I think the best way to help is in our own backyards (bloom where planted) & remembering we are all human.

8:17AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

nice

8:59PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Marvellous, you were caring and compassionate. It is also possible he was just walking by having no intentions of stealing a purse. We certainly can all do more to help with some random acts of kindness for those who are not as well off as ourselves. Pick the situation that one is comfortable with and act!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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