Give Kindness

“Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” Jackie Chan

When classes ended one-day last week, I had energy to burn. I couldn’t fall asleep, so I went for a walk instead. As I got to an intersection, I heard someone yelling. It was loud enough, that it broke through my noise-cancelling headphones. Curious, I took off the headphones and saw a homeless man yelling in front of a McDonald’s and the 12 UberEATS drivers who were waiting for their orders.

The drivers were trying their best to ignore him as he kept getting louder. He was yelling, “I just want to get a burger and you are in my way!” At this point I was thoroughly confused, so I stopped and listened more closely. This time he looked at me and continued; “All of you are getting food through the app. I have cash and McDonald’s won’t take my cash.”

Suddenly I understood. McDonald’s has a new policy that after 10 or 11 p.m., you must order through the app. So you not only need a cell phone, but a credit card as well. Which means homeless people who have cash cannot get food from McDonald’s. 

So I quickly walked over to him as he was still yelling and said; “Hey, man, I’m gonna get you some food.”

His energy completely shifted, and without missing a beat, he looked up at me and said; “I will have a chicken burger.” It was such an abrupt change that I started to laugh. As I ordered him a meal, he looked up at me, shook my hand and thanked me. 

As we were waiting for the food, we started talking. His energy rose and he started yelling again; “You know man, I am all about positive vibes. I am not even angry at the UberEATS drivers or the people working at McDonald’s. I believe whatever energy you put out is what comes back to you. It’s just… It’s just I’m homeless. I’m hungry. I have money and I couldn’t buy a burger.”

Suddenly, he reached into his bag and pulled out a small notepad, a brush and started oil painting right there in front of me. He started to draw a man and I thought, oh my gosh, he’s drawing me as a way to say thank you. As he continued to draw, I looked at him and said, “Hey man, thank you. Are you drawing me?”

He looked up at me and said matter-of-factly; “No, man, this isn’t for you.” I laughed awkwardly and we spent another 10 minutes talking as we were waiting for the food. I was able to get to know him a little.

And as I walked away, I thought, he really is about positive vibes. It’s just that he lost his way a little bit. It reminded me that we all lose our way sometimes and can snap and be difficult and bratty, especially to the people we care about. But that doesn’t mean that we’re bad people. So I am grateful for all the people in my life, like my mentor, my family, and my friends, who show me kindness. Especially when I am being difficult. So this week, let’s just pay it forward to the next person who snaps at you. Give them kindness to remind them that they are actually about positive vibes.

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