All week on Instagram my topic has been centered around the importance of finding confidence and feeling powerful as women. Today’s post was going to be based around the same topic, but then I went to a conference in San Diego and something wonderful happened…
ps: I love San Diego. Every year, right around this time, I attend a marketing conference where I get to be a nobody in a sea of people, learning new tricks of my trade and it’s my absolute favorite. When I turn the corner from Kettner to get onto Harbor and see the two ginormous Hyatt skyscrapers, I feel home. I don’t take this for granted.
On the trek to my hotel I bustled past a number of homeless. The sun had gone down so the temp was dipping into the low 50s and I couldn’t help but feel extremely privileged (then a little guilty) as I scurried past them with a full stomach, a bag full of clothes, and on my way to a hotel where a big warm bed (that I didn’t have to share with my husband) was waiting for me.
The next morning I still felt this pull inside my heart to do something for those I’d be walking past that morning who were packing up their sleeping bag. All of a sudden I remembered I had a leftover snack pack from the train ride in the night before and decided this small thing might be capable of making someone else’s day that much sweeter, so I grabbed it as I walked out my room and spent the elevator ride pumping myself up to not chicken out.
For those of you who don’t know, I do an annual fundraiser every year in November for homeless youth. I spend one night out on the street in front of Covenant House California so that another kid doesn’t have to. This is my passion, but I’m human and learned Stranger Danger so it’s still a little nerve wracking because you’re not a fortune teller and won’t be able to know how your good intentions will be received.
As the elevator doors opened my game plan was solid. I would walk my route and the first person who looked at me, said good morning, or smiled at me (basically letting them make the first move, sorta), I would ask, “do you need some food? I have some extra.”
Having a plan and what I’m going to say makes me feel solid. So off I went and it didn’t take more than 50 feet for me to give away my snack pack.
He was an older gentleman digging through a trash can, possibly for recyclables, possibly for food, and he was next to the crosswalk I needed to get across Harbor, and I think when I didn’t walk around him to avoid him, he looked up at me and said, “good morning.”
I told him good morning, and asked him if he needed food. All he could muster was shaking his head. He didn’t reach out his hand until he saw I was indeed handing him the box. After he grabbed it I told him I hope he had a good day and I was off. The whole scenario was less than 5-minutes.
By no means did I do anything to make his day better. A snack pack from the train isn’t going to end world hunger, but I’m hoping I made his morning a little brighter and it took absolutely nothing from me to do it (besides the balls).
I put the whole exchange on my stories and fought back tears while telling it. There is something about the look he gave me when I asked him if he needed food that tipped my emotions overboard. So I decided the next two morning I’d be doing the same thing.
After the keynote speaker on Monday night I went to the gym to run and work off some of the pent up energy I had after sitting all day. When I was finished and looking for some water, I noticed a bowl of apples…
Yes, I pulled a Ross and took a handful of apples knowing I’d be giving them away the next morning. Earlier that afternoon I had also stocked piled a cup of nuts from the conference with the same intention.
Tuesday morning I walked out from my hotel with a ziplock baggy filled with two apples and a coffee cup filled of dry nuts. I gave it to a man who was brushing his hair and when I asked him if he needed some extra food, he paused.
“Of course, yes! Yes, yes! Sorry, I don’t know where my head was there, I was off thinking about something else and wasn’t expecting…yes, yes, I would love some food, thanks.”
Day Three: I raided the gym bowl of apples again from my run the night before, had another cup of nuts, and two Kashi bars I had grabbed from home as my “just in case” snacks during the conference.
An older man who had said good morning to me got one of the apples and then asked me where I was from, I told him originally from Buffalo, and he said, “okay thanks, have a good day.”
I was saving the majority of my hoard for a family who popped up the night before, a man, woman, and two small children. They didn’t acknowledge me, I said good morning and the gentleman jumped a little like he was caught off guard.
“Do you need some food?”
Nobody deserves to be hungry. We all fall on hard times, some of them are harder than others. There is plenty of food in this world to go around and I think we ought to start sharing it.
A 5-minute gesture of kindness could change the world if done once, twice, or three times a week. You never know.
Stay kind my friends. Happy Thursday!
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