Today, we were on our merry way to take our little Papa Chulo to his 9 month check-up (I can't believe he is 10 months already!), when I noticed the gas light on. I was already running late, and debating whether I should just chance it in hopes of making it without running out of gas, or stopping and wasting a few minutes of needed time. Of course, pulling over was the logical thing to do because I sure couldn't manage running out of gas on the freeway with three little ones (I am afraid of too much!). Off we went and I was pumping gas and trying to take care of some other things while the gas price was dwindling down my bank account.
I happened to look up and noticed a very dirty, thin, homeless man rummaging through the trash can. It wasn't the typical going through the trash can to recycle, no, he was looking for food. I watched him for a few seconds, as well as the people who were near him pumping gas. I wanted to see their reactions and to see if he was going to ask for money. This man just continued to eat the food he found in the trash, while others looked disgusted with him and drove off. As I finished pumping gas and sealed up my tank, I noticed he had come to the trash can near me and found some more food. He was in his own world, excited to have food for his hungry, shaking body. Not once did he bother a single person for a dime.
It's rare if I have money on me, as my ATM card is my "cash", so I scrounged around for some change finding a little over $2. I hate to give money to homeless people because I want them to use it for food, and would much rather ask them what I can buy them for a meal than hand over the money. Buying him food wasn't possible because of my time crunch, and I would have to unload 3 little ones at a gas station to get him something to eat. I got his attention and gave him the money, and his countenance and voice had so much delight in it. He was so very thankful, kind, and sweet. I told him he was welcome and then went on my way. As I rounded the station to get out, I noticed we had a protein granola bar in the car, and turned around and gave it to him. Again, sheer delight and a huge thank you.
As I drove off, Bella was intrigued by all that had gone on with this stranger. After explaining why I had given him money she was filled with overflowing compassion. Here was some of our dialog on the way to the doctors office.
Me: Bella, do you see how he's very skinny and dirty?
Bella: uh huh
Me: He doesn't have a home like we do with a shower, warm blankets, and food to fill his tummy
Me: Because he is homeless and lives on the streets. He goes through the trash cans and tries to find food for his tummy there.
Symphony: Well, he can get a bag and fill it with water, tie it in a knot, hang it from a tree, poke little holes in it, and he'll have a small shower (my little inventor)
Me: Great idea Symph!
Bella: Well, he can live at our house
Me: Bella, he's a stranger, we can't have strangers living at our house
Bella: Mom, if you go back and ask him his name, then he can live in our house
Me: Bella, just because we know his name, it doesn't mean he isn't a stranger.
Bella: Well, why can't he live in his car?
Me: He doesn't have a car babe
Bella: Well, I know, we can give him our car to sleep in
Me: Bell, we need our car
Bella: I know, we can give him a motorcycle from the motorcycle guys to sleep on (she's obsessed with motor-cross racing lately).
Me: Babe, he can't live on a motorcycle
This little dialog went on with her all night long as she thought of more ways to help this man. I was blown away to see how much compassion her little heart had for this one stranger that impacted her life in just a short few minutes.
The three of us talked all the way to the doctors office about making little care packages for homeless people, like our friend Kellee does. I need to make my way out and purchase a few things to put them together to have on hand when we are blessed to meet up with one again.
We were all shown how very thankful we should be for where we are and all that God has blessed us with. You never know where you can end up, but remember that they are people just like us, and had it all going for them at one time. Life is hard, be compassionate :)