I was on a date with my girlfriend when a homeless girl approached me to beg for some money. I looked at her and froze. I have never had such feelings before
I should really get a car. That was all I could think about as I walked down the streets with my beautiful girlfriend. When we set out for our favorite restaurant, it was a cloudless sky, but now it was about to rain, and we had to pick up the pace. A car would really come in handy right now.
As we hurried towards the restaurant, I saw a homeless woman with a little child by her side. They both looked malnourished and dirty, dressed as they were in rags.
With beggars, everyone knows making eye contact was an implicit go-ahead for them to request alms from you, and that’s what happened. My eyes met the little child’s, and she hobbled towards me.
I stopped and stared while my girlfriend urged me to follow her quickly so we could beat the rain. I paid her no heed; the child had all my attention, and suddenly I wasn’t seeing the kid, and I saw myself.
I used to be in an orphanage run by greedy folks who couldn’t care less about the kids. I always looked dirty and malnourished, which is what the child looked like. She was a kindred spirit — lonely like I was, dirty like I used to be, and sad.
She reminded me so much of myself. I could not take my eyes off her and felt an indescribable urge to help her in my little way. So I put my hands in my pocket and fished around for some notes.
Sir, could I have some money?” she asked when she stopped before me. “My mom and I are starving.”
My throat was clogged, and I had to blink back tears as I handed over some bills to her. Her eyes lit up as she saw it and her grubby hands brushed mine as she took the cash hastily as though scared I would change my mind.
When I caught up with my girlfriend, Lily, she was not very happy about my little detour. It took less than a minute, but she was an impatient woman who thought herself too valuable to be kept waiting.
“You’re too soft James,” she said. “You just got fooled.”
“How?” I asked, genuinely confused.
“Those two you gave money to are probably cons pretending to be homeless to make some money, you shouldn’t pay attention to them,” Lily answered.
“Ah, I see,” I said.
I didn’t think she was right, but I had no intention of getting into an argument with Lily; she never accepts that she can be wrong, and I wanted to spare myself the headache, so I left it at that.
The next time we went to the restaurant, I saw the beggars again, and this time, I walked to their perch to give the little girl some more money. Her smile made me feel happy and fulfilled.
The same thing happened on our third date too, and it eventually became a habit. My girlfriend was not happy about this, she felt I gave them way too much, and we argued about it one day.
“You should really stop doing that James,” Lily told me after she watched me give the girl money yet again.
“I know you can James, but there are simply better ways to spend that money,” Lily said. “There are some new outfits I have my eyes set on but can’t afford right now, you could get them for me.” Her statement got me angry.
“You have tons of clothes already, most of them don’t see the light of day unless you have a special event but you’re looking to add more at the expense of those poor souls out there who can’t even afford to own another pair of clothes? Come on Lily, how heartless can you be?!” I shouted.
Lily gave as much as she got. She was unwilling to see things my way, and I lost interest in being with a woman as callous as she was, so we went our separate ways.
One day, I was walking home alone, wishing again for a car that would save me the long walks. I’d taken to passing the street where the homeless girl and her mother stayed so I could give them alms when I was able.
That day, I saw the homeless woman, but her daughter was nowhere in sight. I got worried. Where was she? What had happened?
I debated asking the homeless woman, and just as I decided to, I heard a child’s laughter behind me. It was the little girl returning from school. She looked different, cleaner, and she was wearing a clean school uniform.
It was the first time I heard her laugh, and the sound was wonderful. She had always looked so sad. I was delighted that she was going to school, so I decided I would do all I could to support her family.
I helped them with their rent and bought them food to eat, then the girl’s mother, Joy, got a job as a dishwasher at my favorite restaurant. I’d recommended her to the manager, who was a close friend of mine.
She was hardworking and was quickly elevated to the position of cook, which gave her the opportunity to start saving some money for her daughter’s future education. I took pride in the fact that my small deeds made a big difference in their lives
What did we learn from this story?
Small deeds can go a long way. James helped the beggar mom and her child secure a better life with small actions that began the day he set eyes on the child, who reminded him of his orphanage days.
He could have looked the other way like his girlfriend told him to, but because he did not, the lives of both mother and child were made infinitely better.
If you believe what you’re doing is right, don’t stop even if you are being discouraged. James did not let Lily discourage him from helping the less fortunate mother and her child, but thankfully, he did not listen because he felt he was on the right track, and in the end, he was able to save them.