I was driving home the other evening when I stopped at a red light. To my right there was a young man standing on the corner holding a sign. He was in his mid twenties, chubby with thick curly hair. His cheeks glowed a healthy pink and it was clear he hadn’t been missing many meals. His sign was made from cardboard and he had affixed some kind of orange backing to it to make it more durable and flexible (perhaps it was tape or plastic). This was obviously a sign he planned on using for some time. It was richly decorated with colored marker artwork around the borders and in bold black letters it read: Seeking Human Kindness – It does exist.
I found the sign inspiring and I decided to give him what he sought. Knowing this was a long red light, I thought I’d speak with him for a moment. I rolled down my window, smiled and waved to him and said, “I hope you have a great day!”.
He looked at me blankly and replied, “Can I have some money?”.
Smiling cheerfully I answered, “Why no, of course not. I don’t give money to strangers.”
He raised his sign higher assuming perhaps that I hadn’t seen it. “I’m looking for some human kindness” he grumbled to me.
“And why not?” I responded brightly. “It can go a long way. That’s why I smiled and waved at you and wished you a good day!”
“No, I mean I need cash.” he said starting to sound a bit sour.
“Ah, right. Don’t we all?” I asked in my most pleasant voice. “But I have good news for you my friend. You can get money the same way I do. The same way millions of people do. You can get a job and they will actually pay you for your time and effort. It’s a great way to support yourself financially. Have you tried it?” I asked as I flashed him my toothiest grin.
He glared at me and asked “So are you gonna give me something or not?”
I pleasantly replied “But I did give you something.”
“Yeah, thanks for nothing” he sputtered back at me.
“Not at all”, I replied happily. “I’m happy to share both kindness and wisdom with you today, free of charge!”
Just then the light turned green and I accelerated forward. I looked in my side mirror and caught a glimpse of him waving at me with a single finger extended.
“Poor guy”, I thought. “So young to have to suffer from such terrible arthritis.”
I drove the rest of the way home with a huge grin on my face. By golly, he was right. Human kindness DOES exist and it sure makes one feel good when it’s shared.