I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work.
Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don’t want to be bothered. This was one of those “don’t want to be bothered times.”
“I hope he doesn’t ask me for any money,” I thought. He didn’t. He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn’t look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few minutes he spoke. “That’s a very pretty car,” he said. He was ragged, but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard kept more than his face warm. I said, “Thanks,” and continued wiping off my car.
He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, “Ask him if he needs any help.” I was sure that he would say “Yes” but I held true to the inner voice. “Do you need any help?” I asked.
He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me. “Don’t we all?” he said.
I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun. “Don’t we all?”
You never know it when you see someone that appears to have it all. Perhaps they are waiting on you to give them what they don’t have – a different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, respite from daily chaos, that only you, through a torn world, can see.
Don’t we all need help?
[ Story adapted from “The Little Book of Personal Development” by Tony Nutley ]