Last week I walked out to the parking lot of one of my favorite local grocery stores with several bags in my cart. It was mid-afternoon and I was anxious to get home. The list of items I needed to buy for the week were now complete.
I found my car and popped the trunk with the automatic button on my key fob. It was only a few minutes before I had everything loaded inside. I turned to return the cart and a man approached me. He looked at me with tired eyes, his clothes disheveled, his face needing a good shave.
I was hesitant,certain he was going to ask me for money.
He didn't. "Excuse me...I hate having to ask strangers, but I don't know what else to do." he stopped, probably noting my wary expression.”I was wondering...could you spare any food? My children are at home and they haven’t eaten anything all day. We have nothing in the house to feed them. We’re out of food stamps and I can't get any more until 6 am tomorrow morning. Could you give us anything...for my kids? I don’t want them to go to bed hungry.”
His question surprised me. I quickly ran through a mental list of what I had purchased. Nothing came to mind immediately. Then something did.
"What about some apples? I just bought some." It wasn't a lot but I couldn't remember anything else I purchased that didn't need other ingredients and preparation first.
He nodded slightly, looking hopeful. "Apples?" He stared at me. "Sure."
I re-opened the trunk and began to rifle through the bags for the crisp fruit. I had planned to make a pie. In the second bag I looked in, I found a large package of frozen burritos. I had forgotten those. They would be more substantial. I pulled them out, feeling the thick plastic cool my fingers instantly. I turned to face him again and held them up.
"Would this help?" I asked.
His eyes quickly scanned what I held, seeming unsure as to what it was. There now was a woman standing near him, her eyes also on the package in my hand. I assumed she was his wife. She looked similarly; tired, unkempt and discouraged. She nodded, smiling slightly. Something glimmered in her face. Hope? I handed the food to her. They both thanked me profusely.
"Good luck." I added as they moved away. I re-closed the trunk, seeing its contents now in a different light. I had so much. My family wouldn't miss the burritos.
One seed can start a garden.
One smile can lift a spirit.
One candle can light a room.
One conversation can start a friendship.
One person can make all the difference... (Author unknown)