March 31, 2011

A Paper Napkin

We were heading home today after a wonderfully educational field trip. After portraying characters from the late 1800's at our county museum for the local public schools we were talking about how lucky we were. Not only had the kids had a blast, but everyone received a hot dog/chip lunch... I simply must remember that kids are blessed by the littlest things. Anyway, as we approached the on-ramp to the freeway I saw him. He was crouched along the side of the road holding a little sign I could not read at  that distance. I knew he was supposed to have the packed lunch that my kids did not need (because they had feasted on the hot-dogs).

I was at least 10 cars back so I quickly wrote "God Bless You" on a paper napkin and stuffed it in with the sandwich.
As we approached I handed the food out the window.
I said, "I cannot offer you work (Which is what his sign implied he needed), but I can give you some food... Are you hungry?"

He said, "yes, I am..." and took the food with humility. I was struck by how broken he was.

As I waited for my light to turn green, I watched him limp to the corner to where his crutches were propped. I saw him take the napkin out and read it.
He glanced up and made eye contact with me and raised the napkin in a gesture of humble thanks... Then, he slowly and carefully folded the napkin and placed it in his pocket. I choked and immediately knew I would never forget this man.
I felt an overwhelming compassion that I wasn't prepared for...

Our light turned green and we drove by. I said, "I do not think I will ever forget his face..." My son said, "Me either" and then began to weep, and we prayed for this man who we will never see again.

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