I saw a video clip some time ago. It was a social-experiment clip. In the clip, a black American kid – in his early teenage years, I estimate – stood by the side of a walkway with a brown-carton placard that said “Please Help. Im hungry.” People walked by but no one stopped to help. Not black, not white, not Hispanic, not Asian-American, no one. So went his first outing. However, on this kid’s second outing, on the same afternoon but a while after the end of the first, something remarkable happened after the kid had waited a while. There came along a white lady – in her forties, I estimate – carrying a yellow polythene bag and pulling along a blue box.
The lady stopped and said to the kid, “Are you hungry?”
The kid responded meekly, “Yes, Ma’am.”
“I got some food here,” she said, handing him the polythene bag. “This is the last little bit of my money I have,” she said, handing him twenty dollars. She hugged the kid and walked away.
After the lady had walked down some minutes, the video maker came out of hiding, chased down the woman, thanked her for showing kindness and gave her back her money. What was remarkable? It turned out the woman was homeless and that the box she was pulling along had her belongings.
A homeless lady gave up the last twenty dollars on her to help another human being in need. It was the most remarkable thing to me.
First, the video clip made me see how service to our loved ones and the world around us is simply a matter of vision and will: if it truly matters to you, you simply will. No cop-out from you would satisfy you.
The clip also made me see how I had not been grateful enough for the blessings in my life: the blessing of this stint on Earth, the blessing of being able to see or hear or feel or taste, the blessing of having food on my table, the blessing of having clothing on my body, the blessing of having shelter over my head, the blessing of having people who genuinely care about me, the blessing of having people whom I genuinely care about, the blessing of being able to be a means through which value is added in some way – no matter how seemingly little – to the world around me. I had taken these and perhaps many other blessings for granted.
Finally, the clip made me wonder if having a genuinely grateful spirit perhaps made for a genuinely serving (and beautiful) spirit. I certainly am grateful for the blessing of having seen how service and compassion are possible even in the most dire circumstances. What about you?
Photo by Josue Escoto on Unsplash