I cried today for the first time as a grown man. As funny as it sounds, at 27 years old all I could think to do was call my mom. Isn’t it funny how that works? Sitting in my car in tears and my first response was to call my mom to make it all better. I’m not embarrassed to say that.
In fact aside from her and my ultimate confidant, my fiancÃ©, only you guys will hear this story thanks to the anonymity the site grants me. I will never tell this to anyone else I know because sharing it would turn it into nothing more than self aggrandizement thus diminishing the story and the act. To do something only to boast of it, well by definition it isnt charity, its self indulgence. It’s only by accident that I am the narrator so hopefully you can understand that the story is what is important, not me.
I decided to skip the gym today after a grueling and mentally taxing day at work. The project I am working on(which I soon will share with you all in a few weeks) is taking a lot of me. On my way home I decided to stop off at the local grocery store for dog cookies and Ranch dressing, obviously not to be consumed together. As I pulled into the parking lot, I drove past a woman standing under a tree, holding a sign saying the typical likes of ‘Single mother, lost job, 2 kids please help’. Her two children were there with her, maybe 4-5 years old each playing in the grass. I failed to mention that it was also raining, making this a site almost too scripted in how depressing it was to see.
I never make it a practice to give to beggars, I just don’t do it. I give to a favorite charity regularly and try to hold doors open for old lady’s when the opportunity arises, but I never hand out money. Mainly because I do not carry cash on me ever, and I have other reasons I won’t get into. When I got into the store, I found myself filling my shopping cart with various items: cereal, bread, fruit, rotisserie chicken, juice boxes, granola bars, peanut butter…whatever you get the point. The lady at the cash register made some jokes about what she perceived to be my childish dietary habits and I chuckled, grabbed the max cash back I could and then walked out into the rain to deliver the groceries.
I don’t know why but the closer I got to the woman and her children the more nervous I got. In fact my hand started to shake and my pulse would quicken with every step. When I got there, I noticed they were all covered in glitter, which still confuses me, and dirt. The woman was of middle aged and Latin decent with a heavy accent and a poor grasp of English. The children were underweight and playing with rocks in the dirt. I told her this is for you and pulled the $50 out of my pocket and handed it to her, my hand shaking as I offered. She started to say god bless you and the kids ran to the bags excited as if it were Christmas morning(well what I would imagine that to be because believe me when I tell you it’s better to hit the snooze button on Chanukah morning). I lost it. I had to turn around to hid my face and walked as fast as I could in my car where I broke down in tears. Crying for the first time in maybe a decade and ashamed of myself.
From my car, I watched the kids grab juice boxes and fruity pebbles holding them high over there heads and dancing like it was an XBox or Ipad. The mother calmly looked through the contents and would look up at the sky after each item. I’m not sure why I was crying, because it wasn’t because I was happy. It wasn’t because I was moved. I’d like to think it was because I recognized how lucky I am to have what I have and be where I am, a nice house and never having to worry about my children’s next meal(hell I still bought the dog cookies for my only ‘children’). But I’m pretty confident it was because I had to drive by them on my way out, in my Porsche, while they sat in the rain blessing me for giving them dinner and a measly fifty bucks.
So there I am, leaking tears and watching the three of them wave goodbye to me with the mother mouthing ‘Thank You’ thinking I did something special, when in reality I know damned well I could have done more. So what did I do? I cried and I needed my mother to make me feel better. Mom’s always know best. Whether they are standing in the street, penny and prideless begging for your dinner, or reminding you that even though you could have done more, you at least did SOMETHING while other cars drove right past.
Thanks for reading my story. Please when you are presented with the oppurtunity, do something, even it if it only something.