Only a dollar to keep him going

Getting out of the subway, after a long day of class and work leaving me half asleep, a man approaches me in the darkness of the city street.

Walking slowly, hunched over, the older man quietly asks me, “Please, do you have a dollar?” Stopped in my quest of rushing home to sleep, I immediately thought what could be in my wallet.

“I just got beat up. A dollar to get something to eat,” he added faintly as I reached into my pocket. Dim streetlights revealed to me that the frail man’s head and face had bloodstains.

“Where do you want to go to eat, Tim Hortons?” I asked, pointing down the street. I grabbed the toonie that remained in my wallet and said, “here’s 2”. The man accepted the coin and quietly said thank you.

He paused and asked, “what’s – what’s your name?”. I answered, he looked at me and put his bandaged hand out to touch mine for a brief moment. Then he said, “thank you…” and walked away, limping slowly into the cold dark night.

I stood there thinking. Yes, he received what he asked for from me – but he needs so much more.

On the bus half an hour before, I had just posted a Facebook status complaining that $100 cash left my wallet that day on various things (transit passes, food, etc). This gentleman asked for the littlest amount possible, really – one dollar. Compared to the 100 times that I spent that day, and the double of that I spent on an iced tea minutes before.

Starting to walk to my residence building, I reminded myself hat this sad situation isn’t the only one, either. There are many more homeless people, individuals suffering abuse, and countless others in very unfortunate situations not just downtown Toronto but all over the world. There are needs like this amongst us – people right now outside feeling the need to be reached out to, to be helped, to be given a dollar for coffee, to have a conversation. Causes you to think how inferior and selfish your lousy, everyday complaints are, and how much the world needs your help.

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