As I am sitting down in my local coffee shop to check email and do some writing, I see an attractive lady already seated at a nearby table. We exchange brief glances and so ends our interaction. I subconsciously had formed an opinion of who she probably was just by that really simple exchange. Now keep in mind, I realize that this is the wrong thing to do (judge people with no basis or judge them at all for that matter) but if we are being honest, we all do this. Those of us that are aware of it and at least acknowledge that it happens, can hopefully begin the process of changing it.
The lady was very well dressed and carried herself with a certain level of dignity. Where I grew up we used use the phrase “She looks like she comes from money”. Suddenly I see her get up from her seat where her MacBook, her purse, and several other belongings are and rush outside. My eyes followed her, curious about not only where she might be going, but also thinking about how crazy it seemed that she would just leave all of her personal belongings unattended like that. As I watched through the window, I see the person she is going outside to greet. Trust me, it was not who you would have expected. Passing by the coffee shop is a small, scruffy old man in a long black coat, wearing finger-less gloves and a pair of tattered boots. His beard was long and unkept and his hair was all over his head. I couldn’t tell what color his hair really was or what race he even was from the amount of dirt he had covering his body. As the lady approached him he seemed shocked and caught off guard. This was clearly not a scheduled meeting. Suddenly I see her say something and then put her arm around his shoulder. She then reaches into her pocket, and places something in his hand. The look on his face was a combination of shock and elation. As she ushered him into the coffee shop, I soon realized that she had given him some change. Possibly just enough to buy a cup of coffee. He began to thank her over and over again. He told her how beautiful she was and what a nice thing that was for her to do. “God bless you” was repeated over and over by the man. She told him that he was very welcome and quickly went back to her seat and began to pack up her stuff. She was out the door before he had his cup of coffee. I could see his eyes searching the shop for her but she was already gone.
I hear all of the time about people engaging in random acts of kindness but its rare that you get to see them unfold right before your eyes. This lady, whom I had unfairly judged, not only made the day of a homeless guy who she had never met but she also impacted my day in a very profound way. That 10 minutes of my life forced me to be introspective. True learning comes from proper introspection. To learn yourself means opening up to the possibility that you are doing some things wrong and that you might not be as effective as you can possibly be. I strive everyday to be honest and to explore my own spirit. This morning’s experience was a not so subtle reminder to continue to do that and to do it at a higher, more efficient level.
What she thought was some change for a cup of coffee quickly became way more than that simply because she was aware. Her awareness led to a sense of urgency which led her to act. Who knows what impact she had on this man? She obviously wasn’t worried about any accolades or praise she might receive for her act considering how quickly she left. What I do know is that she impacted me today and for that I thank her. I was an unassuming bystander who received a blessing today and for that I am forever grateful!
~ Justin Jamar