If you have ever volunteered in a homeless shelter you know that every homeless person has a different story. Some were irresponsible with their money, some did drugs and made bad choices and some ended up there by accident. I talked with people whose spouse ran off with all their money or people who contracted an illness, didn’t have insurance, lost their job and lost their house in foreclosure due to extremely high medical bills they could not pay. The reality is the more than half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, so should something terrible happen there is no safety net.
It could happen to anyone.
Whenever I see a homeless person I treat them with respect, decency and kindness knowing we are all people of worth regardless of circumstances. Having someone ask for their name and speaking with them is so easy to do but is rarely done. People see them as their circumstance and usually just want to get away as soon as possible.
When you ask their name you show that you care about them. The reactions you get are amazing. Their whole face lights up and usually they stare at you with disbelief and gratitude in their eye as they say, “ My name? You want to know my name?” Try it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
When I drive I try to keep something in my car in case I see a homeless person: granola bars, travel soaps and shampoos, little bags of toiletries, gum. That way if I am at a stoplight and I encounter someone with a sign, I then can give him or her whatever I have in my car, ask their name and tell them God loves them.
I have had “buy a homeless person a full meal” on my bucket list for a while but realized I always seem to see people only as I am driving versus near a restaurant. With this in mind, I was driving to work this past week and saw a man with a sign one lane over as I was stopped at a light. I had my full lunchbox with prepared chicken teriyaki from Snap Kitchen that I was so looking forward to for lunch.
That little voice in my head nudged me that he might need it more.
I rolled down my window, called him over, stopped traffic and handed over my lunch box.
And you know what? It felt great. I went in to work knowing I had done something good. I would have to buy my lunch that day but that was okay because I could. My job allows me the financial freedom to not stress over spending $8 at lunch like that man would.
It’s the little things in life that make a difference. Did I have to give him anything? No, but did it really cost me to do so? No. While my car’s stash of granola bars are great, it felt even more amazing to give more because I actively chose to.
Can you recall a moment you gave selflessly to another in need? Share below; we’d love to spread kindness as far as we can reach to make the world a better place and help out those who need it.