So, I was a little unsure if I even wanted to write about this today, but, you know, why the heck not. It's my blog. I didn't want this to come off as tooting my own horn or rubbing my selflessness in everyone's face, to show off how great of a person I am. If anything, I was selfish.
On my drive to the super market each week, I often pass a man who sits on the median with a shopping cart of his belongings, reading books. He doesn't beg for money, or hold a sign. He just reads books, in his grungy clothing, next to a shopping cart of his belongings. I normally drive past thinking how hot he must be out in the sun all day. Today, I decided I wanted to do something nice for him. I bought a sandwich and a box of granola bars and a bottle of water from the grocery store, and on my way home I put it all in a grocery bag and at the stoplight, I rolled down my window and offered him lunch.
He turned me down. He said no.
I was shocked. And embarrassed. And confused. This man is homeless. His survival relies a lot on the graciousness of others. Yet he was turning down a cold bottle of water, a turkey and cheese Boar's Head sub, and a box of nonperishable trail mix granola bars. I didn't understand why he would say no.
I think that doing nice or helpful things for others isn't just to benefit the other person. After today, I realized that it is just as much for us as it is for them. I needed to feel like I helped someone, and when I couldn't, it hurt my feelings. As silly as it sounds, doing things for others is kind of selfish. Then again, it's probably the best kind of selfish we can be.
It doesn't happen often, but those few days where the Starbucks barrista gave me my drink for free, or a random person complimented my outfit on campus one day, or someone offered to take a photo of my boyfriend and I instead of us having to ask, those moments make my day a little brighter, and renew my faith in the people around me. I would like to be the reason someone else's day is a little better. It might not happen all the time. I may not be able to afford to make a huge difference, and solve large problems, but I do want to try harder to be a better person to others, just because. Because I shouldn't be upset when someone doesn't receive a favor as well as I would hope. You never know what battles someone is fighting each day... the least we can do is try and be kinder.