Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Acting On The Voice Of Kindness

--by twocents, posted Aug 3, 2010

I was riding my bike around lunch time today and passed a man sitting just off the sidewalk with his face in his hands.  

My first thought was: "Stop! See if he needs help."

But I was riding fast.  I slowed down and looked back.  It  looked as though he was either praying or crying, maybe both.  I decided that meant that I had to turn around.  I rode up and asked if he was ok.  No response.  For a second, I thought he might be a drunk or a bum.  But I asked again.

He looked up with clear eyes and bright teeth, and gave me a big shiny smile.  He was about 55-60, wearing denim overalls and a farmer's hat, and had the hands of a manual laborer.  I quickly discovered that he spoke no English but I was able to make out that he was hungry and he had no money.  He wasn't a drunk, just a working poor immigrant.

Over a sandwich and more awkward semi-Spanglish on my part, I managed to learn that he has a brother who lives nearby before enlisting the help of a nearby translator.  His wife is in Mexico, his brother works nearby, he's got no other family in the States, and he goes around doing odd jobs to make a little bit of money here and there.  We mostly just sat across the table smiling at each other while he rather messily but slowly chomped through his sandwich.

I guess when I was riding up, a part of me was hoping that I was going to be able to do some grand act of kindness or saviorhood in a moment of distress for a fellow human.  But all I was really doing was giving a hungry old man a meal in a land that must seem very foreign to him.  And sometimes that's enough.

He was halfway done with his sandwich when I got up to leave, telling our translator to tell him to make somebody's day.

He said ,"Gracias, mi amigo", but I was the one who was grateful to hear the still-too-small voice of kindness and act on it.

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Readers Comments

givemore wrote: Beautiful and inspiring
Matheus wrote: You all have been in our prayers thoohgurut the day -our church folks praying as well that god would be merciful to bro. Merrill this day according to his will and sustain the family with his love, comfort and grace. Prayers were answered as we received the word that the birthday boy celebrated his special day twice once with his earthly family after midnight and then the big celebration in heaven later this afternoon. I'm sure he heard the words from his heavenly father, happy birthday and well done, thy faithful servant when he entered those pearly gates. We know he will be missed by all but his legacy lives on through the ministries of the musical merrill evangelistic team and the wylers on wheels. God bless and we love you folks. Lynn and hulon bryant
Thankyou wrote: Not many people would have done what you did. By sharing it with us you have inspired us to do show kindness at every opportunity that presents itself and whatever form it may take. I am sure if the man needed more support than just the meal you would have done your utmost to serve and help him. You did what the situation required and you have shared your story with us anonymously so that we can be inspired to show kindness too. Thankyou, well done and keep doing what you do. God bless. Much love.
Namaste wrote: I liked this story so much that I had kept it on my Blackberry since August 3 when it was featured in the "Kindness Daily" newsletter, just waiting for a chance to comment on it! How generous of you to take him out to lunch! And to make the decision to turn around on your bike ride.

Charlie wrote: Thank you for following your heart; it is all too easy to keep going instead of turning around. And although he did not need much, i know he appreciated the sandwich and the kindness behind it.
iamemcei wrote: Little things like that when sincerely done makes our world a better place to live and to enjoy living in. We don't have to be an extra-ordinary people to make extra ordinary things to make a better change, a simple smile, a simple nod, a simple prayer when sincerely given will give an extra-ordinary outcome. Imagine a life with people who exert a little effort to share a little goodness and extend a little help to other people around them? Would it be great? 100 percent! Show how you care. . .
Ellen Benedetto wrote: Thank you for sharing about the small voice that many of us often ignore and. Thank you for listening to it :-)
Laura wrote: Great story! Just try to make someone smile who relly needs it!
cliff gallant wrote: I'm sorry but all i could think of as i read the story was how self-serving it is on the part of the writer. The entire point of the story seemed to me to be to make the point that the writer deserves credit for his "spontaneous" act of generosity. Next time he should make a conscious effort to keep himself out of the story and he'll discover that the quality of generosity will become more a part of who he actually is. As is, my suspicion is that the reason the man in need went away with a full stomach but little else was that the purposes of the writer were well served by just the gesture alone, which he eagerly reported to the rest of us.
DebraE wrote: The words of a story, just like art work on a wall, are open to interpretation.

For me, you turning around and offering a kindness to the man is the most important lesson i will take away. Thanks for sharing.

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