|added Tue October 28 2008 at 12:33 AM
|Random story time. I left work today with mixed feelings about being happy to leave at a reasonable hour and sad because a reasonable hour for me right now is 9pm. I was walking down Third Ave from one bus stop to the next to catch the bus home. An old crippled man stopped me and did the whole shake my hand and tell me how decent of a human being I am game. I just wanted him to make the ask so that I could tell him I don't carry cash and be on my way to the bus. He showed me his disfigured shoulder that the doctors are planning to cut off (the rest of that arm was already gone) and told about his leg. Okay, so we've all heard the sad stories and I still hate giving money to beggars.
He finally got around to asking, and instead of asking for money, he asked for food. I figured, well, what the heck - I can get the man some food. He looked like he had it pretty rough, so some Subway or McDonald's would be okay. I asked what was open at that time of night in the area, and he said the Walgreens on the corner of Pike (or is it Pine?) and third. That was the second sign that he was sincere - most beggars will lead you to the nearest fast food restaurant. I walked with him to the corner and he told a little bit about himself - how he's lived in Seattle for 17 years and 12 years ago got into a car accident and had been to the hospital several times since and that he applied for disability and was denied and he tried to get a job but couldn't keep up with it. A sad story for sure - I must admit that I'd probably spend all my time complaining if I were him. That's the thing, though - the whole time he was saying how lucky he was to be alive and how much God blessed him and that he was still happy to be alive.
Here I had been complaining (to myself, mind you - not whining at the world) about how rough work has been lately, and this man that was in such obviously worse of a situation was telling me how lucky he is.
I told him to get as much groceries as he could carry, and he did go to town. But he didn't buy all the instant eating food - he bough actual groceries. Like corn biscuit mix and tuna fish and orange juice and stuff. He didn't ask to buy cigarettes, he didn't ask to buy alcohol - he just bought as much food as he could carry.
It just puts a bit of perspective on life. So what if I'm single - I'm not really alone. So what if I have to work hard - I have a great job. So what if my feet hurt - I'm not going to have them amputated. So what if I'm not the hottest guy around - I'm not disfigured and crippled. If this beggar can be happy to be alive, then I most certainly can, too.