As I approached a traffic signal, I noticed a beggar, a pan handler in the middle of the street with a sign and cup asking the motorists for money as they stopped for the signal. When this man got to my car and asked me for some change, I began an interesting dialogue with him. I did not look away as if I did not see him nor was I upset by what he was doing. Instead I graciously spoke and entertained a conversation with him.
When he asked did I have some change for him, I told him he should be the one giving me some money. We each laughed and he said, “You know you are right. The next time I see you I will give you some money!” He stood there by my car and we talked for the entire time the traffic light was red for me. Other cars were blowing their horns for him to come to them and collect the money they had for him. Yet he stayed and talked with me. We had a wonderful time together. It felt good to me to treat him like just another human being. I was not repulsed by him. I simply accepted him and that simple gesture made him feel acknowledged.
As I got ready to move on because the traffic light had changed to green, he said, “I will be like Robin Hood for you. I will take from the rich and give to the poor.” This was a remarkable man that felt good about the thought of being able to help someone else. There was a glow about him as I drove away and we were both smiling.
I remembered that I may not have always reacted this way. I remembered that at one time I would have looked the other way and pretend I had not seen him there begging for money. This time was different and I am glad about it. This man was happy that someone took the time to talk with him, even though he did not receive any money from the exchange. And if I never see this human again, I know I made a positive difference in his life for just one day. This one act of kindness made him smile!
I give Thanks for accepting I can surrender to my preconceived notions about what someone else should or should not do and accept them for who they are.