Never Give Up
Last night I was just putting my purchases in the car at Marshalls when a man named Stacy came up to me asking if I had any money. “Everything I got was stolen. This is all I have, what you see, and I really just want to get some socks and a change of clothes.” I knew I had some cash in my wallet, a rare occurrence, and I really thought about giving him $5, but instead, in no hurry, I said, “How about I just go buy you some socks? I’d be happy to.”
He start to tell me that that wasn’t necessary, he didn’t want to inconvenience me, but I insisted it wasn’t an inconvenience at all, and he quickly accepted my offer. He helped me finish loading up my car, and we went inside together, introducing ourselves. We got some socks, and without even thinking, I asked, “Do you need anything else?”
Two pairs of pants, a shirt, and a 6 pack of socks later, we were at the check stand when Stacy started to tear up. He gave me a spontaneous hug. “Nobody has ever done anything like this for me,” he said through his tears.
I kept my arm around him, tearing up myself. “Do you a bag for this stuff? Would you like to pick out a reusable one?” I asked, pointing at the wall of loudly colored large reusable bags they have at Marshalls.
“That one is perfect. ‘Never Give Up.’ That’s me, for sure. I almost have, lots of times, but nope, I never have given up,” Stacy told me, and I pulled the pastel purple bag with the inspirational saying off the wall for him.
As we left the store, Stacy gave me another huge hug. “I’m not trying to come on to you or anything,” he said, “but would you please take my number? Just to say hi sometime, if you feel like it. I’d just like to know you’re okay. Because now, you’ll always be in here,” he said, patting his heart.
I took his number down and reluctantly said goodbye, my heart both full and aching at the same time with the thought of this beautiful man, homeless on the streets, worrying about ME. Such sweet irony. But then again, I’m sure he would think it’s ironic that I think that I’m the one who really received a precious gift yesterday afternoon, just being able to give to him. Best $50 I’ve spent in a long time.
Hellos are as much for our hearts as they are for the person we are saying hello to.