I was just at my car loading groceries this morning when a car pulled up behind me. The man driving was apologetic for disturbing my morning but was in need of help paying his power bill as his payday wasn’t until the 8th. He held out his power ‘pay in advance’ card for me to see but it wasn’t necessary. I could hear the desperation in his voice and see it in his eyes as he described his power being turned off that morning. Visions from the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” flooded my mind. I could see a small family at home with no A/C, no lights and no refrigerator. I told him I rarely carried cash but he was welcome to whatever I may have. I was so grateful to have something in my wallet. It was less than $10.00 but it was something; his gratitude was overwhelming. I just wished it could have been more. I wished him the best and he drove away.
I spent the drive home thinking about all the people who struggle to make ends meet every day. Those that fall short on funds to pay a power bill by three or four days before pay day. I thought about how fun it would be to call up the power company, tell them to pick five residential customers who were in line for getting their power cut and anonymously filling their account for another month. I thought of the concept of random acts of kindness and how important they are. I even thought about starting a blog or other publication about it – something that shared little acts of kindness shown around the world. It seems like the news is so full of all the terrible things that it’s no wonder so many are guarded with more than their wallets these days.
There are many who would call me a fool. A fool for sharing my substance with one who asked. After all, how can you ever be really sure they are honest or aren’t going to misuse your generosity? To those, I simply say so what if they do. They have a need, I have the ability to give them something. Who am I to judge the validity of a hand asking for help? I know what it’s like to go through hard times, to pray for a break. In short, a simple helping hand once and a while. Today I am thinking I need to stash a $50 bill in my car or wallet just for such occasions. I was actually kicking myself as I began driving home that I didn’t march the gentleman back inside the store to the bank inside and help him put at least a couple week’s worth of power on his card. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.