Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crying into the meat case..

Sunday, I was in the grocery store and there was this man staring at the hamburger meat looking sad and confused with a few tears rolling down his cheek. I noticed people staring at him and then hustling away. I walked up next to him to check out the hamburger meat and hopefully find one that was $3 so I could make tacos for dinner. I looked at him from the corner of my eye and was about to ask him if he was okay or if he needed some kind of help. I didn't have a clue what a grown man in his mid to late 40's would be crying at the meat case for and he looked truly confused. Before I could ask him anyway, he looked at me and randomly asked if I knew that it was Father’s Day. I told him I did know that. He said he did not realize that it was Father's Day until he got to the store and saw the Father’s Day specials sign hanging up in the front windows. I said that was awful. He shrugged and a couple more tears rolled down his face. He told me he had recently finalized his divorce and that his son was away due to being in the military and his daughter was in rehab currently. A few more tears rolled down his face and he went back to looking at the meat looking lost and confused. So I told him Happy Father’s Day. He looked at me and said I was the first person to say that to him all day. I told him I hoped that I would not be the last. He just nodded. I grabbed my wallet out of my bag and while I was doing that asked him if he enjoyed reading. He nodded and said he did then looked at me looking even more confused. I had a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble in my wallet that I had received Tuesday as a birthday gift so I pulled it out and gave it to him and told him Happy Father’s Day again. He looked at the card, looked at me, told me thank you and then started crying again. I just told him it was no problem and that I hoped his day got better before walking away from him.

I felt really awful for the man. I've never in my life seen anyone staring at a meat case in the grocery store looking so utterly lost and sad. Anyone that has read my blog for any length of time knows that I'm big on helping people out when I can. I'm not in the best place right now, being unemployed and broke as hell. I know there are people out there who have it worse and that have bigger problems than I do, though. So, I take each day in stride and try to remember that while life kind of fucking sucks right now that it could be worse. I'm a sucker for helping people, though. I had a job interview on Tuesday and while walking down the street in downtown Dallas, some guy and a lady asked me if I had any change I could spare because they wanted to get some burgers off the dollar menu from McDonald's. I have less than $60 in my checking account currently but at least I have a place to live and food in the house. Even if it's not a lot of food, it's still more than a lot of people have. I had $17 in my wallet. I gave them $5. They got happy, thanked me several times and then scurried down the street and went into the downtown McDonald's. I told a friend about it and he asked me why I would do that when I don't have much money myself and no income and no one to help me out financially. I didn't really have an answer other than the fact that $5 isn't that big of a deal and if it went to feeding some people who might not have gotten to otherwise eat, then it went to something good. Which makes me happy to be quite honest.

I do a lot of good things and volunteer a lot of free time into helping others. I don't talk about it much because I don't do it for praise or anything else. I don't do things like that because I feel like I have to either. I do things like that because while I might not have much right now, I still feel like a pretty lucky person and I still have more than some people. If giving an hour of my time, some cans of vegetables or $5 for some double cheeseburgers can help make another person's life better, that's worth it to me.

The $15 Barnes & Noble gift card was a birthday present from a friend. While I would have loved to go by myself a book or two, I would like to think the man in the grocery store that I gave it to will enjoy it more. I hope that, even though he was so unhappy and sad, that my small gesture might have made the day suck a little less for him. At least someone somewhere acknowledged the day for him, even if it was a random stranger he'll never see again. He wasn't asking me for anything and I didn't feel obligated to help him. I just thought it might cheer him up a little so, why not?

I think if everyone made an effort to do something to help other people once in a while it would make the world a better place. Too many people are selfish, to be honest. So many people don't give a shit about helping anyone. If you don't want to help other people, fine, don't. There's no law that says you have to. Just don't make bullshit excuses about why you can't because no matter how good the excuse sounds, that's all it is.

It takes so little to make another person's day a little brighter, a little better. You don't even need money or gift cards to do it, either. Say something nice to someone when you normally wouldn't. You know, that can of green beans and that ca of beets that have been in the pantry for months? Take them and drop them off at your local food bank. Ask a random person how their day is. Have a few shirts in your closet you rarely or never wear anymore or maybe some pants that don't fit anymore? Find a shelter and drop them off. There are tons of ways you can do good things for other people that are less fortunate than you. The small things that seem so insignificant to you just might be a huge gesture to someone else. You just have to want to.

Happy Tuesday!

Leave a comment, please?

26 comments:

Dan said...

Here's hoping you have a good, no great day. You deserve one for all the caring you have shown to others.

And good luck in the job hunt too.

Momma Sunshine said...

Good for you. :)

I remember once, when I was deep in depression, in the grocery store, shopping, zombie-like, barely able to hold back tears. A man stopped me in the aisle and asked me if I was ok, true concern on his face.

I will never forget that. In one of my darkest times, a complete stranger reached out to me and showed concern. It meant so much to me. Hopefully you touched this man in the same way.

Anonymous said...

I love you

Neath said...

I thought there was something wonderfully special about you.
You just proved me right.

Just A. Girl said...

Poor guy.

Another Ordinary Girl said...

What you did was wonderful and you are right, no matter how bad your life seems, there is always someone who is "worse" than you. I hope karma treats you right and you get a job soon!

Tragic™ said...

*sniff* I'm at a loss.. Really.. Ash, you're a good person. I'm glad to know you in any small way.

nitebyrd said...

You're such a sweetheart! The goodness that you put out in the world will come back to you.

Britni TheVadgeWig said...

There should be more people like you in this world.

Part of the reason I'm in the field I'm in is because I like helping people. And it's why I like to work with community agencies and people that have virtually nothing, as opposed to in private practice, even though there's more money in the latter. I want to help the people that need the most help, where I can truly make a difference. And when they thank you, they really mean it.

BTExpress said...

That was truly a wonderful thing you did. He was feeling like no one cared, but you did. You never know, you may have changed his life for the better, forever. XOXO

R.R. said...

I loved that story. It's nice to be reminded that there are still people out there who care so much about others, even if they are only strangers. You're an amazing person.

Gina said...

I began following you last year when you did the Toys For Tots fundraiser on your blog. Reading this doesn't surprise me. It does warm my heart and soul. You are so young and have so much concern and compassion for people. That isn't common in most adults and even less common in young people. You my dear, are a beautiful wonderful inspirational young lady.

You probably made that poor mans day. He was probably upset feeling alone as if no one at all cared. Good for you.

The people saying the world needs more people like you? Realize that by becoming a better person and doing some good once in a while that YOU could be one of those people the world truly needs more of! They are not put here by some great source magically. Great people like this are made of actions and conscious decisions! Anyone could be a better person and help people by just making the choice to do so. Thank you for reminding me of that young Ashly.

Janie said...

Aw bless you :) You're an amazing person and the world needs more people like you! I bet you made his month, let alone his day!

xoxox

Poindexter said...

Glad I clicked over to your blog today! It is nice to extend the hand of friendship and nice to be reminded in such a sweet way, through your experience. btw, saw a job posting in my field about a week ago at UT Dallas. Prospect Research Associate in their fundraising office. Not sure if it is of interest to you, but wanted to pass it along.... Wishing you the best.

Maggie said...

Aww, no making me cry at work! This was really sweet of you to do. It's wonderful to be able to reach out and make someone else feel less lonely or like they're not forgotten. Just a simple acknowledgment of their humanity can make a world of difference.

KendallJaye said...

Perfect karma. There was a reason you didn't spend that gift card earlier. :)
Things usually happen for a purpose, even if we can't see it at the time.

-KJC

Suzanne said...

You rock! I'm sure that man was touched & his day made a little brighter. I have to admit your story threw me for a loop. I saw the 1st part about a man crying at the meat counter & thought for sure he was going to turn on you & be a hardcore vegetarian. I thought he was going to start preaching about meat is murder. I almost wish that was the case now. I feel bad for the guy. Goes to show you never know.
You're an inspiration & thank you for sharing your good deeds. I know you don't do it for show or to get praise. Like other commentors said, I'm lucky to know you. Thank you.

Emmy said...

LIke I told you when I saw your tweet, you are a good person! I read something the other day that said good behooves good. It will come back to you...I know it will. :)

xoxo
~Emmy

Resident A-Hole said...

You know how better the world would be if more people followed your example? That was an amazing gesture, and I have no doubt that he will always remember Father's Day as the day that a complete stranger reached out to him in his time of need. Good on you.

Joker_SATX said...

This is a really good post...yes I agree with you here.

Charlene said...

Doing a kindness for someone is the best way to make your own life better; irregardless of how it helps another.

Another Suburban Mom said...

You are a good woman, and not in the nauseating Kathie Lee Gifford sense of the phrase.

I only hope the universe returns your karma to you.

Qetesh said...

Made me cry, in a good way. I wish more people were are helpful as you.

GoodWill said...

Wow, what a story. Good for you for stopping though, and I'd imagine that $15 card meant a ton to him on that day.

Too many people would walk on by.

Shumpy said...

that is pretty awesome what you did.
I ran in to a guy on my way to the station the other day and he was standing on the curb, then came up to me and asked for some money so he could get something to eat. I'm in the same place as you - not much $$ but always try to help (& not just for kharma's sake) when I can. He said he was on his way to a shelter downtown.
Felt for the guy but don't hardly ever carry cash. So when I was inside getting my coke for the show I picked him up one of those triangle sammiches and a big water.
He thanked me so much and ate the whole thing before I even got out of the parking lot while he waved good-bye to me.

Sheen V said...

Wow! That was probably the best gift he received in a long time. High five!