Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rusted Red Wagon

I spent $15.08 yesterday for lunch. I actually spend $15 dollars for lunch often, but this day was different. I have never really been good with money. It seems if I have the cash in my wallet I will spend it. I ate at Subway in Friendship, New York. My sub and small drink only cost $5.08. I gave the other $10 away to a total stranger. As I sat to eat my sub, I watched a man with two small girls, which he pulled behind him in a red wagon, walk toward the mini-mart/Subway restaurant. The wagon had a flat tire and the two girls were under three years old. One girl had an eye that I'm not sure she could open. She did not open it all the while I watched them. The father pulled the rusted, red wagon close enough to the store so he could reach into the garbage can to see if there were any cans or bottles he could turn in for money. He did not find any.

I noticed that a nice, clean cut guy with his baseball cap turned backwards, got out of his car and struck up a conversation with the dad. Some time went by and I notice the capped man gave the father of two $10. Next, the father and the two girls entered the store, leaving the wagon behind, and the father asked to girls to pick out whatever candy bar they wanted. He spent part of his $10 bill to buy a king sized Almond Joy and Snickers bar for his daughters. While they were in the store, I actually took my cell phone outside and snapped a picture of their wagon. The family came out and, I guess due the embarrassment that I felt about taking a picture of this dilapidated form of transportation, I slammed my phone shut before I actually saved the picture.

All the normal things crossed my mind that would cross anyone else's when giving people money. Is this dad going to spend the money on alcohol or worse drugs. He could do much worse than just buying some sugar filled candy bars for his girls. I also thought about how he would feel if I just tried to give him money. Would he feel devalued. Would he not accept my money because "he was not a charity case." I did it anyway. After I gave him the money, I thought wouldn't it be better for me to take him to the library and teach him how to sell something on eBay, or maybe teach him some kind of technology skill that could somehow help him earn a living so he could better support his girls? If I see this family again, I just may help them with more than just $10.


Tim Clarke said...

Rick, your thoughtfulness about this family's situation is a prime example of your drive to help people. I've always seen you as a "helper," and this is definitely an example of that.

Barb Van Wicklin said...

For their sake I DO hope you meet them again. Emerson wrote "To know one life has breathed easier because I have lived...that is SUCCESS."

skip zalneraitis said...

Thank you very, very much.

Don said...

You have demonstrated the compassion and humanity that set you apart and make you the great educator you are.