Be kind – it could be you!

As I walked from the small grocery store, the heavy dark clouds began to pelt the ground with cold drops of water. I stopped at the sign before leaving the parking lot and then drove directly to the traffic light, which had just turned red.

To my right, turned away from the road, was a man trying to cover bags that set on the sidewalk. He had signs that were almost illegible because the rain turned the words into lines running down the signs. I could read a few words…. “everything was taken away”

He was desperately trying to cover a small dog with a yellow raincoat – moving the signs to create a makeshift shelter for the little animal. He moved the bowl of dog food closer to the animal. He wore one of those caps that has wool braids on both sides, a dark coat and pants, and he gave the appearance of a ragtag character, worn and old.

I thought, “I don’t have any money and my husband will be laid off soon”, and I turned to the left heading homeward.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the man as I stopped at the next light. The further I drove, the more I thought about my warm home and the dry sheets on my bed that would keep me cozy for this cold night.

When I opened the garage door I kind of turned on automatic pilot and left the engine running and my dog in the car. I ran to the hall closet and grabbed the big raincoat off the hanger. Then I headed back to the garage and grabbed the new tarp I had gotten on sale last week. I bought one too many and it was still in the wrapper.

I couldn’t get there quick enough it seemed. I parked across the street. When the road was cleared of traffic I ran across and saw the man still trying to keep his dog warm beneath that yellow raincoat.

I asked him, “Can you use a raincoat and a tarp?” He looked up and said, “Yes, people call me Uncle Roger. This little dog has walked all the way from Texas.”

For a moment I tried to help cover the dog and then, with rain on the increase in volume, I made a dash across the street and back into the car.

A part of me wanted to tell him to put his stuff in the back of my car and come and stay the night in my spare room. I knew I couldn’t. The times have changed, and though I know there was no pretense about this man, I learned long ago that in this century you must try to keep a soft heart, but always be on alert.

One time when my husband was traveling I had left the front door unlocked. He had warned me many times about that very thing. He said “You just can’t do that these days”. One afternoon (before I had my puppy) I was in the hall putting towels in the cupboard.

Suddenly someone put his hand over my mouth and picked me up and carried me to the bedroom. He had my arms clasped tightly to my body and I couldn’t move or scream. He abruptly threw me on the bed.

I could now see the perpetrator. It was my husband. He sternly said, “I told you to lock the doors – I could have been a rapist or a burglar. When my heart slowed to an acceptable rate, I promised I would lock the doors and be more on the alert. To this day, even when friends stop by, I find I lock the door when they’ve entered the house!

I started the car and made a turn towards the light. When I passed by Uncle Roger again I remembered I had a dry towel in the car and opened the window and asked, “Uncle Roger, can you use a dry towel?”

He said, “I can use most anything. Just a minute.” He finished securing the area for his dog. Then he stepped to the window and looked directly at my eyes as I handed him the towel. He had been too busy trying to help his little dog to even look before. I said, “God bless you” and he said, “God bless you too”. It was not a casual conversation. For a moment, eye to eye, we connected in human love and appreciation of one another.

I appreciated his tenacity, while soaking wet with cold rain, to make sure his little dog was taken care of properly, and had food nearby. I felt compassion, as it just as likely could have been me standing there were circumstances different. . He appreciated my small gifts of love to another human being.

I’m not telling this story to hear, “Oh wasn’t that nice.” I am telling it to remind ALL OF US – myself included – it need not be money you share to help another. Whatever you have that might help will do. Who knows, but I hope, maybe simply a tarp and raincoat helped the man and his little dog stay dry and a bit warmer, at least through the night.

Be a kind and warm human being. We are all related!

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4 Responses to “Be kind – it could be you!”

  1. Slamdunk Says:

    Good post Marsha. There are opportunities for each of us daily–thanks for showing us how to bring joy through one act.

  2. Rajat Says:

    Hello Marsha! Nice post! Indeed we’re all related… 🙂

    Here’s is another related post that i posted on my blog “Life’s not a mice race”, feel free to read.

    Take Care! 🙂

  3. marsha o'brien Says:

    Thank you for your comment. I did check out your post. I must tell you though, I personally believe in God and do not blame Him for the horror on this planet. I believe he gave us free will to choose – and in those situations we can’t, it does say in the Bible that all men live with “time and circumstance” happening. I also believe being finite we simply cannot understand the why of these events….maybe some day we will.

    I too believe we are all related! Have a wonderful day!

  4. suburbanlife Says:

    Oh, Marsha – this moved me so. We are all creatures trying to stay warm? it is always good to be reminded of that.

    Are you guys all right? Please let me know…G

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