Mom Wanted To Help A Panhandler

Read this story about a mother who was surprised by a panhandler ’s response:


The day was Thankful Thursday, our “designated day” of service. It’s a weekly tradition that my two little girls and I
began years ago. Thursday has become our day to go out in the world and make a positive contribution. On this particular Thursday, we had no idea exactly what we were going to do, but we knew that something would present itself.

Driving along a busy Houston road, praying for guidance in our quest to fulfill our weekly Act of Kindness, the noon hour appropriately triggered hunger pangs in my two little ones. They wasted no time in letting me know, chanting, “McDonald’s, McDonald’s, McDonald’s” as we drove along. I relented and began searching earnestly for the nearest McDonald’s.

Suddenly I realized that almost every intersection I passed through was occupied by a panhandler. And then it hit me! If my two little ones were hungry, then all these panhandlers must be hungry, too. Perfect! Our Act of Kindness had presented itself. We were going to buy lunch for the panhandlers.

After finding a McDonald’s and ordering two Happy Meals for my girls, I ordered an additional 15 lunches and we set out to deliver them. It was exhilarating. We would pull alongside a panhandler, make a contribution, and tell him or her that we hoped things got better. Then we’d say, “Oh, by the way…here’s lunch.” And then we would varoom off to the next intersection.

It was the best way to give. There wasn’t enough time for us to introduce ourselves or explain what we were going to do, nor was there time for them to say anything back to us. The Act of Kindness was anonymous and empowering for each of us, and we loved what we saw in the rear view mirror: a surprised and delighted person holding up his lunch bag and just looking at us as we drove off. It was wonderful!

We had come to the end of our “route” and there was a small woman standing there, asking for change. We handed her our final contribution and lunch bag, and then immediately made a U-turn to head back in the opposite direction for home. Unfortunately, the light caught us again and we were stopped at the same intersection where this little woman stood. I was embarrassed and didn’t know quite how to behave. I didn’t want her to feel obligated to say or do anything.

She made her way to our car, so I put the window down just as she started to speak. “No one has ever done anything like this for me before,” she said with amazement. I replied, “Well, I’m glad that we were the first.” Feeling uneasy, and wanting to move the conversation along, I asked, “So, when do you think you’ll eat your lunch?”

She just looked at me with her huge, tired brown eyes and said, “Oh honey, I’m not going to eat this lunch.” I was confused, but before I could say anything, she continued. “You see, I have a little girl of my own at home and she just loves McDonald’s, but I can never buy it for her because I just don’t have the money. But you know what…tonight she is going to have cDonald’s!”

I don’t know if the kids noticed the tears in my eyes. So many times I had questioned whether our Acts of Kindness were too small or insignificant to really effect change. Yet in that moment, I recognized the truth of Mother Teresa’s words: “We cannot do great things – only small things with great love.”

How do you respond to a panhandler? Share this story with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

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Alex D.

Alex D is a conservative journalist, who covers all issues of importance for conservatives. He brings attention and insight from what happens in the White House to the streets of American towns, because it all has an impact on our future, and the country left for our children. Exposing the truth is his ultimate goal, mixed with wit where it's appropriate, and feels that journalism shouldn't be censored. Join him & let's spread the good word!

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5 years ago

Several years ago, I was on my way to a grocery store in Boulder Co. on a frigid, snowy Saturday morning in mid Jan. I noticed a man on a corner holding a sign reading “Anything helps”. I was only at the store for a few minutes. I took a detour to Starbucks & purchased 2 large cups of hot chocolate. Upon leaving, I made a few odd turns so I was able to hand him a cup of hot chocolate. He looked at me & said “I don’t want this shit!!” and threw the hot (yes, it was still really hot!) back into my car, covering me with the hot liquid. I ended up in the ER for most of the day w/ 2nd deg burns on my face & chest. That $4.50 cup of hot chocolate ended up costing me damn near $8000.00 in hospital/doctor bills. I hate trying to explain to my grandchildren why I look “different”.

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