August 23, 2008
Filed Under (The Happy Sad Things) by svana

It’s not too often that a wake-up call comes in the form of another human for me…largely because I am very aware of my fellow humans.

I usually do not carry cash, if I have my debit card…I’m good to go. I mention this specifically because from time to time, someone will ask me for spare change. This usually happens when I’m walking into a Tim Hortons first thing in the morning. My response is always, “What do you need?”…if it is food, I’ll buy you breakfast, if it is cigarettes, I’ll buy you a pack….but I will not arbitrarily hand over money. My eldest sister is an alcoholic, so I learned my lessons pretty early on and pretty painfully about “handing over money”.

Generally, the response is positive and appreciative. Sure there is the occasional person who doesn’t like my offer, but that is their choice. This is what I am prepared to do, take it or leave it. I don’t do this to feel good about myself, anyone who knows me, knows if there is a need I can fulfil…I do. My weekly breakfast buddy outside of Tim Hortons said to me one day that he would have not made it through last winter without the help he received from various people…but I was the only one who invited him in with me to choose what he wanted, and corrected the twits behind the counter when they were rude to him. He looked at me and said, “When I walk in with you, I know what dignity feels like…and it’s good.” I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make my day.

Today I wandered into Chapters with my husband and daughter, and very unusually, I had a $ 20.00 bill that I found in a random pocket. YAY! Found money is always great.

A man approached us, and asked if either of us had $ 1.75. My husband is very much like me with regards to his debit card versus cash, and said he was sorry, but no…he couldn’t help. I’ll admit, the $ 1.75 request threw me…it was so specific, which is very strange from the “You got any spare change?” request. I looked at him, and said…”I don’t have any change..but…”, he looked at me hopefully, and said, “I just need bus fare to get home.”

His eyes were clear but he looked damn tired. I grabbed the $20.00 bill out of my nifty card holder, and handed it over. He said, “No…I just need a $1.75, really I just want to get my bus home.” Wow…I was floored. I said I could get him change, but that I’d be happy if he got a snack or something with the remainder. He looked at me and asked if I was sure…because he had three kids at home, and the leftover money from the $20.00 would sure come in handy. I looked at him and said, “It was found money for me, so I think it’s not supposed to stay with me…I’d really like you to have it.” He looked at me, to the $20.00 in my hand, and back to me and said,”Are you sure? That’s a lot of money.”

That was the wake-up call.

Here I was, walking into Chapters, where I could cheerfully spend hundreds of dollars in one trip without batting an eye. This man brought my life into stark contrast with his own by that one simple statement. By no means am I wealthy…I pay my bills on time, I always have money for food and there is money left over for the treats like shopping at Chapters, or a meal or two out. This makes me understand, beyond any words I can use to convey the feelings I have at this moment, how very much I take for granted. I am a very lucky person who has the funds required to meet my needs and my families needs everyday.

I looked at him and said that I would be very grateful if he would accept the money. He very carefully took the $20.00 from me, and smiled…he looked just a little less tired. I hope I see him again one day, so that I may thank him for the lesson he brought to me today.

To be thankful for all that I have, and never to take for granted the blessings in my life. It’s the best $20.00 I ever spent.


One Response to “That’s a lot of money…”

  1. Da Hubban Says:

    Damn.

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