I don't blog about everyday events much anymore because of the glut that's out there already. No one has time to read all of them and I haven't been writing much in the last few months because of family illness and obligations. Yet something happened this morning that I am going to share. Something that shook me up and reminded me that there are people who need help right in front of us, to paraphrase Mother Teresa.
I went out early this morning because I forgot something at the store when I went shopping after work yesterday. Once I'd picked that up, I decided to stop and get a biscuit for breakfast. The drive-through line was stacked up but it didn't look too crazy inside, so I parked and went in. Getting in the line, there was a young couple with a small child in front of me. The boy and girl looked maybe twenty years old and the little boy with them was perhaps two. They all looked skinny, not malnourished, but very slender and I noticed the child was playing with some sort of action figure. When their turn came they stepped up to the counter and the young man addressed the guy who was taking orders.
"Sir, can you help us out? We don't have any money and our little boy is hungry."
I was shocked when I heard him say those words. I know so many people are struggling nowadays but to hear this kid asking for food for his child made me feel lightheaded. I actually felt my stomach quiver. Then I got a jolt I wasn't expecting when the guy at the cash register replied.
"I'm sorry but we can't give away food."
Excuse me? You've got three people standing in front of you who are obviously all in need but only asking for something for their child and you can't give them anything to eat?
Oh no, not on my watch.
I didn't want to cause a scene and potentially embarrass anyone, so I simply put my hand on the young man's shoulder. He was trembling. I looked at this man who was taking the orders and then at the young man I was touching.
"You kids order whatever what you want and get something to take with you, too. I'll take care of it," I told him.
He smiled and his smile said more than any words could say. The girl with him was smiling at me too. I just winked and nodded at the cashier. They ordered breakfast and also some extra biscuits with sausage to take with them. I then ordered my food and paid for all of it. The man who'd said he couldn't give away anything didn't really make eye contact with me. I guess he was feeling humiliated or maybe just too sorry to look at me. Whatever, his feelings are his problem.
The food for the family came first and the young man thanked me with a big smile. The three of them took their order to a table and sat down to eat. My order was next and I still couldn't get the cashier to give me more than a glance. His demeanor was not offensive to me but I was taken aback that he wouldn't even say more than "thank you" to me.
As I turned to leave, I saw the kids eating at their table. They were talking and playing with the little boy. I had gotten a twenty from Walmart in my change when I checked out before coming to get something to eat. I took it out of my pocket and walked over to the table where they were eating and I just casually gave it to the guy. They thanked me again and the girl said: "God bless you."
"And you," I replied. Then I left them to their meal and came home.
I'll probably never see them again. I don't even know their names. I don't need to either. I feel very disheartened that in today's society people can be turned away like that and I also feel lucky that I was there to help them. Maybe they will get on their feet soon but until they do I hope they run into more folks who are good hearted and will lend a hand. I've never been hungry in my life, so I don't know what that feels like. I've never felt hopeless either, and I hope they don't right now. But as long as I live I won't ever let anybody go hungry.
It's just not the right thing to do.