It was a dismally cold and rainy afternoon, and we were out running a quick errand before dinner. With the shorter days, the light was already starting to diminish. It all made one feel like wrapping up in a warm blanket with a cup of cocoa and a good book, safe and sheltered inside at home. As we pulled off the exit with the others in traffic, I saw him up ahead with a cardboard sign. I couldn’t read what it said, but that really wasn’t necessary. It was obvious he was in need. Who else would stand in the cold rain hoping people would take the trouble to help? Especially someone who was limping and could clearly use at least one more layer of warmth. And an umbrella.
I looked over at my husband and he immediately asked me how much money I had. I hurriedly pulled out my wallet and counted…fourteen dollars. “Let me have it,” he said as he lowered the window. “Hey, man,” he called the guy over to the car. “Get yourself something to eat.” “Thank you,” the man said. “I will!” “God bless you,” we said.
His brown eyes were clear, and his voice filled with gratitude as my husband shook his hand. The man continued to walk a bit farther past our car, then turned to go back to the corner up ahead. “I wish we could do more to help him,” I thought out loud, and continued to look around the car for anything that could possibly be useful to him. A favorite blanket was on the back seat.
I quickly grabbed it and shoved it at my husband as the light turned green. “Give him this, too!” I said urgently. Down the window went again, and he called out for the man to come back. “Thank you so much!” was the man’s response as he hurried over to the car. I have rarely seen anyone more grateful. And I was incredibly thankful that the blanket had been so close at hand to share. Especially as I saw him wrap it around himself as we drove away. It was only then I realized I forgot to ask his name.
We all pass people by every day. Most folks need…something. We don’t all carry around a sign that says so, or are forced for some desperate reason to stand out in the cold rain. But I am seeking to be more thoughtful about finding ways to help, connect with, provide for, and encourage those I come in contact with — whose needs are seen, and those that might not be quite so obvious or stated. I encourage you to do the same.
“Anyone who has two shirts
should share with the one who has none,
and anyone who has food
should do the same.”