On facebook, a friend of mine named Christopher Golden posted about a very negative event that happened to a veteran in a wheelchair and invited everyone to post about an act of kindness in response. I thought it was a great idea, so here is mine.
I was twenty-four, in graduate school, living on 500 dollars a month. I’d hitched a ride to Dallas, Texas for a society for neuroscience conference where I was presenting a poster, and was staying at the cheapest place I could find on the outskirts of town. I took the bus in every day to convention center.
One night I was eating at Shoney’s next door to my motel. I had about eleven dollars in my wallet and was glad we were going back home the next day. A fellow came in who was trying to sell his paintings and was asking twenty dollars for them. They weren’t very good but if I’d had the money I would have bought one anyway. As it was, when he came up and asked me to buy one I had to tell him, “I’m sorry, man. I’ve barely got enough to cover my supper here tonight.”
The fellow left and I didn’t think anything more about it until I was getting ready to leave and asked the waitress for the check. She told me that it had “been taken care of.” When I asked “by who,” she reluctantly pointed to a nearby table where an older gentleman sat with his family. I didn’t really know what to say to the waitress but I went over to the table and told them “thanks,” but that I could have paid for my meal. The man responded with, “Well, I heard you say you had barely enough to cover your supper and I’ve been there myself.”
I thanked him again and went on. I’ve never forgotten it, though. Sometimes humans do nice things. It’s in us if we’ll just let it out.