ne morning, years ago when my siblings and I were in grade school, our mom took us to our local donut shop. It wasn’t a school day because we never had time before school to get donuts. We were so excited!
Sitting outside the donut shop was a man. He looked unwashed, but not terribly so. He didn’t say anything as we walked past him into the shop. As we were waiting in line, my mom kept glancing out the window at this man. I knew he was homeless, and so did my mom.
We bought our donuts and sat down to eat. Suddenly, my mom stood up and went outside. She was talking to the man. We couldn’t hear their conversation, but it continued for a few minutes. Then, my mom came back in and sat down.
“What did you say to him?” I remember asking my mom.
“I asked him if I could buy him a cup of coffee,” she answered. “He said no, but told me that Vallarta has tamales that he really wants.”
We finished our donuts and headed out to the car. After my mom strapped us all in, she said, “I’ll be right back.”
I watched her hand the man some money. He smiled and got up, walking quickly toward the crosswalk. My mom got back in the car, and said, “He was so happy. He said, ‘Thank you so much! Now I can go get those tamales!'”
We watched him cross the street and disappear behind the McDonalds. We knew he was going to get those tamales.
Sometimes I think about that act of kindness my mom did that day. She didn’t have to, but she did because she knew that man needed help. I don’t know what happened to that man, but I like to imagine him happy and healthy somewhere out there. And I bet he thinks about the woman with 3 kids that helped him outside the donut shop, and that it makes him smile.
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