On Saturday I took a trip to my happy place, Target. They've recently remodeled my store to include a Starbucks. So not only am I in my happy place, I am sipping a latte at the same time. Nirvana? Pretty much.
After gathering up what I needed and, of course, several things I didn't, I began to load my car. It was cool and rainy so I was trying to do this quickly. As I was loading, I was approached by a young woman in her middle twenties. She approached me timidly, almost ashamed at what she was about to ask me. She said she was stranded without bus fare and did I have any change? I'm embarrassed to say I gave my knee-jerk reaction response and said no. She had very sad eyes and if her chronological age was 25, she looked 40. She walked away, head down towards the bus stop enclosure.
Immediately I second-guessed myself. Why did I shoot her down so quickly? Why was I so cynical, so quickly? I could feel in my gut instincts that she wasn't trying to scam me. She seemed so defeated. I did not feel so good about myself at that moment.
I hurriedly got in my car and drove down to the bus stop enclosure where I saw her waiting. I called out to her and waved her over. I handed her some money and told her, " get yourself some lunch too." Then I handed her an envelope with the gift card inside and said, here's something extra for you. She thanked me profusely and went on to tell me I had no idea what a horrible day she was having. I realized in that moment, I really didn't have any idea and how blessed I am. I knew I would never want to trade her life for mine not even knowing the circumstances.
My lesson that came from this, drop the cynicism. People are hurting, people are sad and need help. Just do it. I felt redeemed after that.