Dear Young Man Outside of WinCo,
I still think of you from time to time. Oh yes, though nearly eight years have passed, I remember you.
I remember seeing you by the entrance as I approached from the parking lot. I remember watching you try to get the attention of customers as they entered the building. And I remember how each of them passed you by. I remember that you looked a little rough and each time you were ignored you seemed upset, though not offended.
I remember your respectful address, "Excuse me, Miss?" I remember considering ignoring you like the others. But I stopped.
Maybe it was curiosity. Maybe it was pity after seeing you repeatedly ignored by your fellow man. Either way, I stopped. And then my lesson began.
You asked if I would like a $20 WinCo credit coin. I'm not sure how it came to be in your possession, if you cashed a check, had returned items, I don't know. I remember the feeling of surprise that you were offering something. I asked you if you could use it, surely there was something inside you might need. I remember you placing it in my hand and saying, "You can have it." I said a quiet thank you and then you were gone.
I still wonder why you chose to give it away. We were at a grocery store! Surely there was something inside that you needed. Everyone needs food! I even asked if you could just use it for junk food; soda, donuts, jelly beans, whatever. There had to be something that you would eat. But you gave it away.
What you didn't know is that I was pregnant. You didn't know that this was my third child. You didn't know that I was staying at home while my husband worked and went to school and we were basically living on student loans. You didn't know that weeks earlier we had been in a car accident that totaled our car. You didn't know any of this. How could you?
The bigger concern was what others didn't know. They didn't know that a young man who looked different from them had something to offer. His outstretched hand intended to give, not to receive. They didn't know that although they ignored him he remained willing to give. They didn't know he was going to change my life that day.
That $20 coin did more than help with groceries that day. It taught me that all have something to offer. And while I was the recipient that day I, too, have something to offer. It won't always be money but I can give of myself. I can look inward, past the outward appearance and see that there is good in others. I can sacrifice something of mine to share with another.
I can try to be like you.