“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.” —Robert Holden
The Busy Office Commute & The Panhandler
Commuting to and from the office, I often saw people asking for spare change. If I had it readily accessible, I gave them some. But if it inconvenienced me in my rush to return to the office, I shrugged and said sorry while moving past them. One specific time, someone asked for change.
I gave my usual apology, and they responded to me, “sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
That phrase triggered a newfound sense of what National All Ours Day meant to me.
Re-Thinking Their Words
Why did they feel compelled to say that?
They hadn’t scared me, but, was that how other people viewed them?
I had no idea what circumstances drove this person to reside on the sidewalk, asking strangers for spare change, but, it shook me to my core hearing them apologize to me. I didn’t deserve an apology from someone who simply inquired for a few cents. On my break, I retraced my route to find them to give them some change I initially had but was too lazy to fetch. I couldn’t find them anywhere.
Re-Thinking What I Have
The rest of that day I commemorated what I did have, even if it didn’t seem like much. I was wearing warm clothes and an insulated jacket on that 35°F day. My final destination was the office, where I knew I would receive my next paycheck. I didn’t bring lunch, but could afford to grab a bite to eat at the majority of the neighboring restaurants. When it was time to go home for the day, I had my own vehicle to drive myself home. The spare change I tossed into my car’s cup holder could have been the bus fare for which they were begging.
Did this person have any friends or family who knew where they were?
Did they even have contact information for their family?
I memorized my parents’ cell phone numbers in case there was ever an emergency where I didn’t have my phone. Fortunately, I knew where their home was if I ever desired to see them. If I felt homesick, I could replicate my mom’s southern chicken or dad’s chocolate-chip cookie recipe to give me a satisfied piece of nostalgia.
Did that person have any sort of hope beyond someone giving them some money?
Suggested Read: Finding Gratitude In Life’s Ordinary Moments
A Day To Reflect & Appreciate Everything We Have
National All Ours Day is a time to reflect how fortunate I am to have even the simplest of items. When I inhale, I’m grateful I don’t have asthma or any other breathing difficulties. I have strong legs and can take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. I constantly think of that person, and how they single-handedly remind me to acknowledge simple tasks are blessings no matter how trivial they may seem to me.
Now, I take extra time to give to someone in need because maybe the little bit I have to give is that person’s answered prayer.