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.
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