Outside of a bakery two doors down from our vet’s office, we saw an old woman sitting on the sidewalk. I can call her an old woman without feeling bad – the wrinkles were deeply etched into her face and she had seen a good amount of time in the sun. I didn’t think much about it; I was on a quest for coffee while waiting for vet results.
I asked one of the bakery workers about coffee and she said she’d make me a new cup. While waiting I drooled over the plentiful options in the display case, oblivious to the rest of the world.
“I think I should offer to buy her something,” my husband whispered to me.The old woman had entered the bakery behind us. She was a tiny thing, somewhat stooped over, wrapped in a brightly colored head scarf and lingering near the bakery’s front counter. She seemed to be eyeing the food almost as much as I was, though probably for very different reasons.
Just then a man, who had been sitting at a nearby table, came forward with $5 and gave it to a one of the workers behind the counter. The woman with him – his wife? – told the old lady, “He’s going to buy you something,” and embraced her in a big hug. It was a hug you would give to a dear loved one you hadn’t seen in ages, someone about whom you care deeply.
The worker behind the counter filled a styrofoam container with hot food, placed it in a plastic bag, and handed it to the old woman.
The wife/friend embraced the old woman again, kissed the side of her face. “You want to eat with us? You can eat with us,” she said, answering herself, clearing space for the old woman.
I didn’t hear if the old woman responded but she seemed to smile before leaving the bakery. I have no idea whether the couple knew her prior to this encounter but kindness like that should be celebrated.
This is a true story. It was a beautiful thing to witness that degree of caring and consideration for [probably] a total stranger. I’m thankful for people like that and people like my husband – though he was beaten to it, he was willing to do the same thing for that woman.
I’m thankful for all that we have in life – what we’ve been given and what we’ve earned through hard work. I’m glad that we have the ability to help others. We’re not rich by any means but everything is on a sliding scale after all. This is also a reminder for me to maybe focus a bit less on my coffee quests and pay attention to the people around me.