Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Sadness Though an act of Kindness

--by penny4them, posted Mar 21, 2016

Dear Friends in Love and Kindness,

I’m feeling blue and rather courageous about sharing this act of kindness. It’s not a feel good story about choosing to do something kind for someone, but I’ll tell you anyway, in honor of the fact that sometimes it hurts deeply to open our hearts and extend kindness with the intention of alleviating another person’s suffering.

This past weekend I was in grocery store when a woman asked me for 50 cents towards buying some chicken . She said she was hungry. I didn’t have any cash, but I offered to buy her chicken if she didn’t mind sticking around with me until I finished shopping. She didn’t say anything but started walking beside with me.

She had a very sad demeanor, and I noticed she had a black eye. She shuffled her feet as she walked. She slurred her speech.

(I noticed many judgments rise up within me.)

I kept shopping and began talking to her, asking her if she was ok, as I noticed her eye.

She said she’d had a seizure and hit her head, but that her temporary roommate didn’t call 911 because she woke up. She didn’t know what caused the seizure.

(I noticed my internal reasoning and retelling of her story.)

She watched me place more items in my basket.

(I became aware of where my purse was.)

I asked her if she’d like to get more groceries to go with her chicken. I said I’d buy up to $10 of groceries for her. She just stared vacantly, walked off, coming back with an armful of raw chicken.

She stood there, holding the chicken, looking at me.

I told her I was happy to help her and to put the chicken in my basket.

I picked up some yogurt drinks for my three children.

(I felt aware and almost uneasy about being able to buy the groceries I needed for my own family. I noticed my internal story.)

I asked her if she had children.

Three girls, she said, children that had been taken from her because her mother called Child Protective Services.

(I noticed other shoppers giving her edgy/distrusting looks.)

She asked me if I could imagine my own mother having my children taken away from me, and then asked me why would her mother have done that?

I told her I couldn’t imagine that. I told her that perhaps her mother was worried about her kids’ safety. I asked her if her children were safe with her. She shrugged and shifted her eyes down.

(Again–inside my head–I heard my own version of her story.)

Her speech slurred. She seemed in a slow-motion haze.

We finally got to the checkout. I asked her what needed to change for her situation to improve. She said getting her own place would be good. I told her I hoped it worked out for her.

I paid for her chicken and all of my other groceries.

She didn’t say anything as I handed it to her.

I found myself waiting for her to thank me, but then redirected my thoughts to the reason I was doing this in the first place.  It certainly was NOT to be thanked, but to show compassion and to do what I could in this moment, to help her.

I wished her well and left the shop with my grocery cart full, as she used her cell phone to call a friend, perhaps to get a ride.

I got to my car and felt terribly uneasy–quite dreadful–about the whole experience. Deep down I knew the best–and perhaps the only–thing I could have done right now, was to buy her food.

I said a prayer for her and her daughters.

I cried. It didn’t feel good to do this for her, but it truly feels like the only thing I could have done.

It’s interesting to me to consider my inner dialog and judgments, and my hesitancy to share this story. I didn’t let my negative and judgmental inner thoughts change anything except to find a way to more deeply open to her, be a witness to her, to hear her, be beside her when so many others in the store seemed to run from her, and to give her what she said she needed in the moment.

What more could I have done? I wonder.

I wish I could have done more… I wish … I wish …. many blessings for her life.
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Readers Comments

ChristineAZ wrote: You did a great and kind thing.
RoseMarie wrote: Sad story but you helped when others chose not to, well done and thank you. X 💓
smileswithhope wrote: Wow, what a powerful story. Thank you for being there with such attentive awareness and open-hearted kindness as you reflected so genuinely on the experience. Really learned a lot from your experience, and am inspired to be more open and kind to all whom i encounter.
lt33 wrote: Thank you for your honesty in your story you made a huge impact on this lady even though you felt you haven't she saw someone a perfect stranger had cared for her in a difficult time if her life you listened to her, helped her buy more then chicken and showed her people still care for others you weren't sure if you were gonna have enough $ for your own groceries but still got this lady hers thank you for the amazing act if kindness you did 😊👍
melnotes wrote: Thank you for sharing your story and honesty about how you felt and that inner dialogue, you did a wonderful thing :)
leoladyc728 wrote: we never know what is going on with someone else. you did great helping this woman.
DANCE wrote: I think you did your best and it was a wonderful thing. I understand your 'inner thoughts and judgements', it's interesting to read what you share. I appreciate your kindness and honesty
terre wrote: Whew! I can feel myself having those same internal dialogues about someone I feel uncomfortable around. I am so happy you ignored those dialogues and bought the chicken, which is what she asked for. I hope I would do the same but cannot know for sure until it happens to me. Thank you!
the3jewels wrote: So very kind and selfless.
the3jewels wrote: You did what most others wouldn't

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