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I Love You

Updated on June 11, 2009
Hungry, Alone and Cold
Hungry, Alone and Cold

5 Bucks

I stopped at the gas station to get a cheap wake-me-up mocha. I parked my old diesel Rabbit next to the store and went inside to get my fix. As I walked out, pretentious yuppie drink in hand, I saw a thin man walk in my general direction. Shabby t-shirt, jeans and a craggy face lined with the weight of an endured life told me he was a homeless wanderer. I cannot count how many times I have been approached by shady people with a routine, whether they are selling baskets or candy in the Safeway parking lot, or a plump possible mother at the gas station with a sob story about running out of gas just a half mile down the road - just far enough they know you won't take the time to verify the story. I can spot this refuse from a mile away.

I call them refuse because I see them hanging out in the parking lot, pretending not to look in my direction as I leave the store, and when I get close to my car, they come ambling toward me, but at an angle, as if they are not coming my way at all. And when they are just far enough away that I think I'll be able to get in my car without having to acknowledge them, they call out in a small voice with just enough projection that I am certain to hear them. They use the word "sir" as if to give me the feeling that I am above them, the implication being that the poor person is appealing to the big successful shopper who has plenty of money to afford not only good food but also ice cream or whatever vice you have buried in your plastic shopping bags. You disgusting slob, you can't afford to spend 5 bucks to help a poor mother out? Then, in a meek voice they ask if I want to buy, candy, handmade baskets or flowers.

But this other guy at the gas station was merely ambling through, and actually looked like the genuine article, and as he passed, he casually asked if I could spare some change. I told him I had none, and he thanked me and walked over to the curb to sit down. I got in my old Rabbit and closed the door, mocha in hand. Perhaps he was a "professional beggar," but I looked at him and got the feeling he was the genuine article. His demeanor, like his clothes and his thin body, told me had had been poor a long time, and a few bucks could help him out a little. I looked in my wallet and found 5 dollars I decided was the right amount to give him. I stepped out of my hot car and walked over to him.

I was tired and cranky at the time, and I know I looked like I had swallowed a sour grape - hence the stop for caffeine. I bent down to give him the money and he looked at me with a look that was both grateful and a little surprised. He said "thank you," and I told him "You're welcome," and as I straightened up, he looked up and said, "I love you." That struck me as the weirdest thing, and yet, the way I felt towards him, totally appropriate. My response surprised me, but I said without hesitation exactly what was on my heart, "I love you too."

With that sour look on my face, I hope he took me seriously. I meant it, and so did he. He blessed me that day because he expected nothing from me. He asked for money hoping I would give him something and not taking offense when I said no. That was the most important thing to me. He was humble, and truly grateful. We will always have poor people around us, and as much as they might be responsible for their own circumstances, we cannot allow that to be a reason not to give when we have been given so much more. In the end, we do not control all our circumstances, so if we are blessed with more than someone else and we can share some of that blessing, then we ought to.

My lasting impression is that this particular person was an angel in disguise, sent to bless me: a poor sinner with much to be grateful for.


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    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Love your comment as usual, especially this: 'Our perspective shifts along with our shift from living in spiritual darkness to living in the light of spiritual truths. We see things differently: we become a "new creation" in Christ and we no longer have a "worldly point of view"'

      Oh so true! This has been one of my struggles lately, to not allow negative thoughts in but instead realizing when I do it, I have turned from hope and trust and love to feeding on the garbage remains of selfishness and self pity and rebellious anger. The terrible thing that comes after that anger is anger towards God, and that is the WRONG place to be!

      I am thankful (I don't believe in false modesty) that I do try very hard to treat everyone with the same respect, meaning people who remind me of others who have done wrong to me, different cultures who harbor some very negative traits, liberals / hippies who embody the traits of hatred toward Christian values, and also people who blatently hate my values. I never regret loving someone who is evil because I think that they may remember Jesus's love when they look back someday as Jesus loves me in my idiocy.

      To be honest, I'd rather be helping a human out because they need it more than angels :-D

      Thank you for the link, I love Sunnie and her writings, she loves God very much too.

    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      AM, Good point: we never can "judge the whole situation", even when we think that we know all the details, because only God sees into our hearts. One of my favourite Biblical lines, which I've had to recall many times in reaching for forgiveness of myself and of others, is "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). I have come to believe that the lack of understanding of our place in God's heart propels people to do unlovable deeds, to say unlovable words, to think unlovable thoughts. Our perspective shifts along with our shift from living in spiritual darkness to living in the light of spiritual truths. We see things differently: we become a "new creation" in Christ and we no longer have a "worldly point of view" (2 Corinthians 5:16-17).

      For all the angels which have been seen in all their glory, there are probably many more who appear in unremarkable or undesirable disguises. Most people probably mind their Ps and Qs more readily in the presence of sparkling magnificence; the real test arises in the absence of clues of angelic finery, such as so-called losers or unremarkable beings flying under our "gotta-put-best-foot-forward" radar.

      Sunnie Day wrote an interesting hub on the equality of God's love for all:

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      You bring up a great point, we should be ready to give at all times to all people. Sometimes I give people the benefit of the doubt when I think they are faking or lying because I cannot judge the whole situation.

      And yes, an angel can appear as some loser - who are exactly the kind of people Jesus came to love and to save. I was a loser before Jesus, and I am still learning how much he values me, all of us. Including the person who knowingly gambled and drank away his money, job, family and health. It's tough to love the unlovable, but that's what we are called to do!

    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      AM, The easiest way for us to "entertain" (i.e., encounter) angels unawares is if they are completely unrecognizable. Your "genuine article" could easily have been an angel in disguise, as you surmised. His quiet demeanor evinces a "still small voice" within.

      There is something about the truth, especially when it's unexpected, that opens the heart of even the tiredest, crankiest, most sour-faced grump, holding his "Yuppie drink" and settling into his old diesel Rabbit!

      Kind regards, Stessily

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      What a great idea! Glad you liked this one. This is one of the hubs I could have done better.

    • profile image

      Suzs 6 years ago

      Really great post. Great writing, and moving too. The last two times I handed food out my window to a beggar they started eating right away. I try to keep an easy-open can of chili, a soda, and some raisins in a lunch bag in my glovebox to grab when it looks like someone needs it. Or at least some cereal bars. It's so easy to help someone.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thank you oliversmum, most of us are very fortunate in comparison. Being rich is not always a blessing either! Thanks for adding to this hub.

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 7 years ago from australia

      Alexander Mark. Hi. He may well have been an angel.

      We tend to tar all these folks with the same brush,which is wrong. We don't know their circumstances.

      It was a very nice thing that you did, it made him feel good and you as well.

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing it with us. It made me think a little harder about how lucky we are. Voted up. :) :)

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks for stopping by saddlerider1 and your thoughts. Maybe you are right.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 8 years ago

      He probably was an angel, they walk amongst us. You both share the love word and that was genuine. Thank you for being kind to that homeless man, you are blessed. I met an angel in can read about him in my hub of the same title An Angel in Makeup...bless you and peace.

    • Zollstock profile image

      Zollstock 9 years ago from Germany originally, now loving the Pacific NW

      What a memorable encounter, and such vivid details! It sounds like you learned a lot meeting this man? I am a little confused about what you mean by “the genuine article” – someone who truly needs money for survival purposes? Personally, your hub made me reconsider my own actions. I find it challenging to stop and hand out money to a stranger because, as a woman, I am concerned about my personal safety, especially because an overwhelming number of homeless people in our area are mentally ill – but maybe I ought to reconsider that notion. I've also felt that transients who offered a service (car washing, etc) or a product (berries picked from the neighborhood trails, etc) in order to obtain some cash are trying to adhere to our standard market principles. Many don't want money simply handed to them, they want to earn it. I guess I am wondering: Did this “angel in disguise” full of gratitude and love make you change your outlook on others who also beg?

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks for reading and the comment James.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 9 years ago from Chicago

      Very thought provoking. Probably was an angel in disguise. Thank you.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks for the comment Uhri.

      I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has been scammed in the way you described someonewhoknows - and also glad you are discriminating as well.

      What a neat story Gypsy - I have never heard of that before, but obviously the gypsy had some integrity!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Makes you think kind of hub. Glad you changed your mind. A gypsy I knew by sight in my village stopped by my house one day and asked for ten shillings. He promised to pay me back. It wasn't a big amount so I gave it to him. I forgot all about it, but 5 weeks later he called at my house and gave me back the 10 shillings and said bless you. I felt blessed and it made me happy that I had been able to help.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 9 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Interesting hub,I remember one day in particular just outside my workplace.I too have been scamed to some extent by certain individuals who either pretend to be poor or are too proud to tell the truth,and make up a story or some other such way to get some money out of me

      1 asking for some change to buy food

      If,I happen to be in or near a place where I can buy them something to eat and offer to to just that ,most of the time they will decline.I know that they wanted the money for another reason.drugs or cigarettes.

      2. I need a quarter for the bus

      They might be telling the truth ,but if they say it,right after they say they want to buy food with it and declined the offer,you have to assume they are being insincere when they change their request to something else.

      3. they say that they are hungry,but they are obviously overweight and just finished eating something hoping you didn't notice.

      When you ask them if why they need food,and they can't take the time to answer you ,they most likely don't need the food as much as they say or are too proud to say..But I will say I would have to be there to make that descison in any case

      4. Someone collecting for someones funeral

      This one should raise a flag of con-cern about the truth of their claim.

      5. This one was around Christmas .a guy came up to me after I just gotten into my car at a fast food place asking for any amount of money explaining that he just got kicked out of his girl friends house.I duess he was living with her.It was Christmas,and I was in a good mood so,although I was inclined not to give him any money.I made a deal with him.I told him I would give him some money,but he would have to never ask me again for money.So I thought about how much I should give this guy,and seeing as he would never ask me again,I proceeeded to give him a twenty dollar bill.You would have thought he hit the lottery by the way he was falling all over himself trying to thank me.whereupon,I declined to shake his hand,and said; remember you said you would never ask me again.Long story short,come spring guess who I happen to run into and asks me for money? You guessed it the very same guy.So, I say to him ,you don't remember me do you?Of course he says no,and I refresh his memory where upon he is embarressed.

      6.The most brasen request I've ever had the misfortune to come across was someone asking for some change ,then immeadiately changes his request ,when he relises that you are acually going to give him something ,to a dollar,and if that is not enough,he quickly changes his request to a few dollars,whereupon I've

      had enough of this moocher,who obiously is a scammer who wouldn't be gratefull for what ever he was offered. Too bad people are out there like that.It makes it harder to be a giving person after that.

      This last one is a reminder that there are people truely in need for what ever reason.One day as I'm taking a break outside my place of employment there is a guy small in stature with long hair uncombed,beard and obiously in need of some kind of help.So I ask him a few what is his name ,where he is from,which surprised me a little.He said the state of washington which was at least two thousand miles from where he was.I also asked where he was coming from ,which was equaly impressive also.Then I asked him where he was headed.He said home back to washington.Of course he was asking for money.It must be his lucky day,or another force at work,but it just so happened that I was given a twenty dollar bill by a customer as a tip,which surprised me I don't recall what that tip was for.It was so out of the norm ,so when this traveler appeared outside during my break I felt I needed to help him ,and since I was twenty dollars richer,I proceeded  to give him the twenty explaining that it was a tip That I had got from a customer,not that he would care where or why he was the recipient.Although I probably would have given him some money in anycase.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 9 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Very nice hub.


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