If there is one thing I’ve learned about living a life with KINDNESS as an intention, it’s this: I often find myself falling into the BEST situations and conversations!
Recently it was my turn in the rotation to deliver the BeachBum Philanthopy weekly bag-lunches to Liberty House (they help homeless and in-need veterans). Thanks to the generosity of some very cool people, The BeachBums get to share lunches, home-cooked meals and many other items with them, and various other non-profits in the Manchester NH area, like the 1269 Cafe, New Horizons and The Friends Program. We highly recommend that you check them out and support them if you can!
In addition this week, my wife Tina’s Mom made a full-on home-cooked meal.
While heading into town, I remembered that I had some additional items to share with New Horizons. My Dad wore hearing aids and, when he passed away in October, we found 2 boxes of leftover batteries. Tina had heard somewhere that New Horizons had a special place in their building for things like that, to assist the homeless and in-need.
My buddy Erik Lesniak volunteers at New Horizons on Fridays, helping to serve lunch to community members who need a meal. When I reached out to ask if I could bring the batteries to him, he replied “Of course!”
Two ‘kindness birds’ with one trip into town...score!
In between Liberty House and Erik’s office (Fisher Cats stadium, and awesome local baseball organization), I got stuck at a red light. As I slowed, I noticed a homeless woman with her sign at the curb.
And so began the verbal parry in my head.
Do I speak to this person?
Do I grip the wheel and stare at the light, trying to make it turn green more quickly?
Do I pretend to not see this person who is standing 6-feet from my window?
Rolling down my window, I said the only thing I could think to say:
“Ma’am, I’m sorry I don’t have anything to give you. But I do hope things are better for you very soon. And I hope you have a good day.”
As it turns out, she let me know how she felt about that.
“Sir, that’s the best thing you could have given me. Thank you.”
What she said next really made me wonder about some of our fellow humans.
“I’ve had people scream at me, throw beer bottles. Even had one guy throw his tobacco spit-cup at me.”
Now, are there people out there ‘pretending’ to be homeless, cashing in on the kindness of others?
Yes there are...and that is disgusting.
Does that give any of us the right to assault or degrade them?
My thought is a lesson taught to me by my family: “If you have nothing nice to say, maybe it’s best that you say nothing at all.”
Knowing I’d be heading off soon, I shared one last thought:
“When I’m feeling down or going through a tough time, sharing kindness and good words helps me...and it also makes me happy to sing any Rolling Stones song released between 1968 and 1972!”
She laughed a beautiful, cackling laugh and pointed at me: “That’s when music was really great!”
We kicked a couple song titles back and forth and, as my light turned green, I wished her well once again and continued to meet my buddy Erik...to complete our little kindness mission.
I will never forget the Red Light Lady who reminded me that, at any given moment, we can DECIDE to be kind.
I sincerely hope that, whatever she may have had to deal with yesterday (every day is rough when you’re homeless), that she remembers our conversation and it warms her heart.
As I am typing this, I’ve got my Office iTunes list playing on the random setting.
A Rolling Stones song, from 1972, just came on.
Eyes shining a bit.
Thank you, Homeless Angel.
I promise I’ll be kind again today.
Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health. We are also the national purveyors of the EZCOACH Fitness Prescription System licensed by fitness professionals.