The other night, we went out to eat for for my FIL’s birthday at a local buffet restaurant. As we sat down, my wife said it was a little cold so I told her I would go out to the car to see if I had a hoodie. I normally keep a hoodie in the car for times like this because she’s always cold in restaurants. As I went outside and started walking to the car, I noticed a man in the parking asking another couple for some change. They quickly said no and moved along there way. As I realized I did not have a hoodie in the car, I closed my door and now the man has now noticed me.
“Aye, my man, can I… oh sh*t, is that you G?”
To my surprise, it was an old high school friend. (We’ll call him “Buddy”). In high school, Buddy had the athletic talent to take him places, maybe even professional. He was well like and friendly. To see him in this state was truly disheartening but I couldn’t find the right words to reply with.
“Aye Buddy. Good to see you.” is all I could mustard up as I noticed how frail he had became. As those thoughts ran thru my head, Buddy replied “Dang man you picked up some weight. You still looking good though.”
We both chuckled.
Buddy then said “Hey, can I get a buck to get me something to eat? All I have is someone’s leftovers they didn’t want.”
I told him that I did not have any cash, but I would buy him dinner. His eyes lit up and I could see his spirits lift a little. I asked him if he wanted to sit and eat with us, but he politely declined and stated that he would get something to go. As we walked inside, I repeated in my mind what he said to me: “All I have is someone’s leftovers they didn’t want.” The more my mind broke down that statement, the more my heart hurt.
Buddy said, “I won’t get too much, just something to hold me over.” He asked the cashier for a to-go container and I stood there, watching him excitingly pick out food as if he was a child in a candy store. He came back to the register and I told the cashier I was paying for his meal and a drink. After Buddy got his drink, he came back and told me “G, I’ll never forget this for the rest of my life. You wouldn’t believe the way people treat me when I’m just trying to get something to eat. If I ever get back on my feet, I got you.” I believe he sincerely meant it.
I ask Buddy if what he got was enough and he smile, and said “This is good.” I told him to take care of himself and he bounced out of the restaurant as if he just won the lottery. To him, maybe a hot dinner was like winning the lottery.
I went and found my wife and she asked if I was good and I told her the situation and talked about it a little, but moved on as we were celebrating a birthday. But throughout the course of dinner, Buddy stayed in my thoughts. I sat there thinking, playing out different scenarios of what if’s and how’s and why’s…
I’m telling this story because I believe by fate it was meant for me to walk outside and experience this. It was a way to tell me to be more kind to people. Not be a fool, but be more kind. There are many ways to look at this experience, but for me, right now, I’m glad I was able to help, even if it was a little bit. I know Buddy and I know his story, so hopefully the small act a kindness will help brighten his day.
Have a great day and if you can, bless someone with an act of kindness. Small or big.