Anonymous Giving Feels Good
The other day I was sitting in a commercialized eating establishment with a couple coworkers eating lunch. We were discussing the day’s events and things about the job that seemed important at the time. The time had flown by as it usually does necessitating the return to the office for the remainder of the day.
I was sitting with my back to the wall at our booth and I had a clear view of an entrance door and the glass on either side giving me a direct line of sight of the busy strip mall parking lot. I noticed a frail man with raggedy clothes and long gray beard approaching the restaurant on foot. He was dress in an old t-shirt and black jeans even though it was extremely warm outside. He had old tennis shoes on and a beat up ball cap perched on his head. The belongings he had all fit neatly in a plastic shopping bag.
He entered the restaurant and went directly to a booth where he sat down and rested for a moment. He then stood up and walked past our booth careful to not make eye contact. I could not however take my eyes off of him. He shuffled his feet while intently looking at the floor and at the same time weaved through the chairs with an objective on the other side of the relatively small eatery. He looked as if he had done this every day for quite a while. He was methodical in his movements as he approached the condiment counter. He reached for a small plastic cup, filled it with lemon wedges and promptly walked back to his table.
I kept watch on him as he took each lemon wedge and sucked it dry. When done, he sat quietly and seemed content with just getting out of the heat and off his feet for a while. I excused myself from the company of my coworkers and walked back up to the counter. I ordered the very lunch I had for myself and instructed the girl behind the counter to take the food and drink cup to this gentleman’s table. She seemed surprised and at the same time happy that I would do such a thing as she gave me a smile showing her approval of my act. In the grand scheme of things this old man was helping me out.
I went back to my table and without telling my coworkers what I had done, I sat quietly watching as the food and drink was delivered. I watched the man’s lips as he simply said thank you to the girl bringing the food and he peacefully started eating. He kept his gaze downward as if he was timid. He devoured the food and drank to his delight.
I learned something from this experience. I was humbled to have been able to anonymously provide a meal to an obvious hungry person. I had specifically told the girl behind the counter that I didn’t want him to know where the food came from as this information was not important. I just want this man to know that somewhere, someone cared enough to think of him. I know he had to have been wondering who would have done such a thing and the fact that he didn’t know made it more enjoyable. I just wish my kids would’ve been there to experience the event.