Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Homeless Man's Gift

--by geet, posted May 28, 2008

On New Year's eve my husband and I stopped in San Francisco for dinner on our way back from a retreat. While eating we felt that we should do something different this year. I took a $20 bill and asked the restaurant owner to give me $5 bills.

After dinner, we headed out on the streets to find homeless people. The first guy we came across was sitting with a paper cup in his hand. We dropped in a $5 bill and moved on. Right across the street we saw another man sitting outside a a club with his guitar. We requested him to play some music for us and he obliged, after which we dropped a bill in his cup.

Then my husband asked me if I would pose with the man for a picture. Initially, I hesitated although I thought that was a great idea. After some more coaxing from my husband, I asked the man for his permission. He agreed with a big smile on his face and insisted that I prop the guitar around my neck. There was something special about his smile - it was wholesome, from his heart, and we felt blessed.

We crossed the street and came across the first guy again and we thought, let's take a picture here as well. I asked this man, if I could take a picture with him and he too agreed with a big smile. He took off his hat to pose for the picture, and we felt a warm, lovely smile.

We continued on our walk looking for more people and we came across another man with his guitar. He was collecting beads which had scattered on the ground from his broken necklace. I offered him a $5 bill and in return he gave me a can of Dr. Pepper and I said i didn't need it. He then offered it to my husband and he too politely refused. We requested that he sing a song for us instead. He said sure and offered both of us a seat on the street. It was remarkably thoughtful - he had broken a chair in half. He placed the top back rest on the floor, on which he sat. The rest of the chair with the seat was on the pavement for his audience.

He sang a beautiful song, I remember a few words from it: 'Why do you wait for the sunrise, the sun is always there. Look in your heart, it is always there' . We were deeply touched by his song. I wished him a great year ahead and he said to me 'life is beautiful,' with a big smile on his face. I took a picture with this man too but this time my husband too wanted to be in the picture. At this point a drunk man was passing by and he offered to take our picture, which he did.

I gave my last $5 bill to the guitarist and said goodbye. But he would not let me go empty-handed. He gave me as many beads as he could pick up in his cupped hands and asked me to make a bracelet out of it. I took it with gratitude and we both felt that the people we met today had give us much more than we had given - a heartfelt smile brimming with joy.

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Readers Comments

bae6 wrote: I had to comment. I was homeless for 3 years in seattle and believe me it is no picnic like it is portrayed in the movies. Now i have a home,3 cats and even tho i am alone. I always give to the homeless who knows? I may be homeless again soon also.
NiboR wrote: I loved this story. Tears of joy are still pouring from my eyes.
Jyothi wrote: This is how we can become somebodys favourite and we becoming somebodys happiness matters a lot to us which can make us to forget anything.
kimonia wrote: well, no matter the q'ty u got, u just got to share with others. I appreciate them.
aafia wrote: a beautiful story with a positive attitude towards life
tony wrote: when i delivered medicines to people to ill to collect them i was often offered tips which i didn't really want. but what i found was , the people with the least in life always gave the most.
vincent wrote: This is interesting, l have almost trying to help an Liberian refugee in Ghana, will continue to do so, l gave her sixty Ghana cedis today.
oluwadamilola wrote: giving is a gift from god to those who will not die poor.the best reward one can have is smile `cos it indicates a change of happiness brought to the beneficiary,give today it shall be given unto u ......
Giles Thekkemury wrote: Always we hesitate to open up urselvesand share a moment with the haplessand love hungry people.even if ew donot have anything to offer a a considerate look and a smile and above all a few wors will enliven their spirits and we can give them immense joy and a change of attitude towards others.What hurts them more is ever coldness and disdain than the material lack of everything.the aricle is really inspiring and motivating.All out good feelings and congratulations to the couples.May we be able to give smile to the lonley and to the grudging.
Sassy wrote: Sometimes we are afraid to reach out to others for whatever reason, but you showed us how good and rewarding the outcome can be for everyone involved.

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