Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It was the hands

Lest you think I am hardhearted, I carry coins in my pocket at all times to help the homeless that I may encounter. But I never, never contribute to anyone who is "panhandling" on the el. First of all, it's illegal and the law is enforced, so why encourage the behavior? And it's intimidating, it makes the mood in the car more hostile, to have someone pressuring commuters into giving -- or any interaction -- while we're all sharing the same fine confined space.

But last night I broke my own rule.

Winter has hit Chicagoland, and it can be very hard on the least fortunate among us. That fact was hammered home when I saw the man leaning on a crutch in the aisle right in front of me. The creases of his jacket were torn and the insulation was falling out. And the hand holding the stack of McDonald's coffee cups! The skin was completely mottled and discolored. Was it grime or cold or infection? A combination of the three? I don't know. But I do know that if it hurt to look at it, it had to hurt to live in it.

He wasn't even aware of the coins I put in his cup but that doesn't matter. I was aware of him. His life made me grateful for my own. I am blessed.

1 comment:

  1. That was a very moving story. You made someone's life a bit better today.


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