Monday, May 5, 2014

Protecting the Orange

You don't often get to see the results of a small act of charity. That's just one of the reasons I have learned to mostly ignore people on street corners with signs begging for help. Others might be that I just don't know what any money I give is really going for, how honest the sign is about the need, or whether I'm really doing any good. Plus I seldom carry cash, operating mostly on plastic these days.

Friday was one of those days where I noticed the guy with the sign as I pulled up to the red light and prepared to ignore him like most of the others.  It was a pretty simple sign: "Anything helps." He really caught my eye when he flipped the sign over and wagged it a bit, emphasizing the single word on the back: "Anything!!!"

I guess I had that look on my face that said I was considering (which I was), because he approached my car before I even reached for the window control. I was also reaching for my lunch cooler, as I asked him if a couple of oranges would be appreciated. "They were on a tree in Arizona two weeks ago," I added.

"Real oranges?" He indicated his appreciation by words, a smile, and holding his hand out. I placed the two oranges I was carrying around in his hands. Mind you, this was a very small sacrifice for me. I had been enjoying two oranges like these every day since hitting Arizona to bring Steve back. One day skipping a snack or replacing it was no big thing for me. The fridge was still well stocked, and I had started throwing out too-ripe spoiling oranges that weren't getting eaten fast enough just that morning.

With the oranges in his hands, I had time to observe him as the light finally changed and traffic slowly moved out. He turned his back to traffic, brought one up to his face, peeling and eating it as quickly as he could, head and shoulders hunched around it as if protecting it from whoever or whatever would be attempting to take it away from him. I drove away musing about the implications of that particular move and what that meant about how much those two simple oranges were appreciated. There was no doubt in my mind that day that it had been the right thing to do.

No comments: