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Why are the People Who Have the Least, Give the Most?

Carrol is a scruffy looking, 48 year old painter. When he is able to find work, he always stops by the cart for a hot dog, usually bringing others with him and telling everyone within earshot how great my Heavnly dogs are. When his job ends, he is out looking for another one, often to be found at the paint store when it opens. Then he will stop by the cart and chat with me for a while. Today, while we were talking, he abruptly walked away mid-sentence, with a look of concern on his face. I turned and watched as he walked towards an elderly lady, who had pulled up to fill her car and 5 gallon container with gas. I watched him take the can from her and fill it and the car, and then he walked with her to see her safely back into the driver’s seat. As she drove away, he walked back to the cart and made little mention of the woman, only to say that she was 87 years old, and he was “fixing to go home and mow her grass… what a dame!” I thought about Carrol, and his situation. He has no power at his apartment right now. He has no money. But everyday, as he heads out to pound the pavement for work, he has hope. And, he is kind. That even though things may be bleak right now, change is right around the corner. “I have to get out there, you know, make something happen.”  And he usually does. Even when I know he is hungry and I try to give him a hot dog, he refuses because he is also proud. Today, I said “you did a kindness for someone and now your kindness is paid forward… that is how it works, you see?”  He just smiled and let me place the hot dog in his hand, and then gobbled it down. And that is how it should be… that even the poorest can still reach out to someone in need and two people walk away feeling hopeful. Do a kindness, give a little hope, the world has never needed it more.