It’s been cold here.
Like 20 degrees outside, cold.
I dislike it a lot. But that’s not why I’m here.
Because I started a new job, I’m consuming now a dangerous amount of caffeine. I’m easily going through 4-5 cups of coffee a day. Not to mention energy drinks and pastry in between. Needless to say, I’m rather popular at our corner Starbucks now. Hobnobbing with Baristas, because they make the best friends, it’s the metropolitan girl’s dream.
A Double Shot, Extra Hot, Skim White Chocolate Mocha with Whip.
My order. My perfect drink.
It sends me into a bliss-filled caffeine dream.
As I prepared to cross the street with my drink and cinnamon roll in hand, a homeless man stopped me and asked a question.
Do you have any change for a cup of coffee?
I was very quick to reply “No.” and the truth was, I didn’t. I’m not a cash-carrying girl. But I realized then the terrifying irony of sitting here bundled up with 2 scarves, 2 jackets and a hot cup of coffee while this man only asked for the bare minimum to warm up. Again, it’s damn cold.
As I waited for the light to turn green, I made a choice.
Instead of taking my drink back up to the office, I gave it to him. I sacrificed my perfect drink. I didn’t need it. There’s coffee in the office, and this is literally empty sugar calories in a cup. Things that someone who is cold like that…needs desperately. And if I could give him something that would make him feel special, then I should and would do that. I get this drink because it is expensive, because it does make me feel a bit luxurious. If I can share that with someone else, I think it’s my obligation as a human being to do so.
The man was excited, said “God bless you.” and I went on my way thinking this drink may be a little sweet for him. I should have just let him order something he’d like.
Now, I’m not a part of some “Pay it Forward” initiative. I’m in fact rather cynical to the homeless issue in urban areas. And I’m not on the other end of the spectrum that thinks poverty is a myth, but in cities like San Antonio where a homeless man has more resources at his disposal than some of the college students, I’m a little hardened to the idea of the helpless homeless. There is in fact a shelter or two very close to where we were. And the idea of charity has always been a little faceless to me. We’re told to give. And I do. But I’m suspicious of the perpetually youthful children in Africa and the blanket causes that line more wallets than they do shelters.
But in that moment, I decided giving of myself this way was easier. I hope he takes the energy and warmth from that drink to do something to change his life for the better. Visit a shelter, get the help he needs. Because I know he needs it. If my constant bellyaching is any indication of the drastic climate change here, I can’t imagine dealing with that and having no where to go. Despite my issues in my tiny apartment, it’s a roofed in place with a heater and food. And if he doesn’t, I don’t regret giving up my drink. I hope it warms his heart.
It warmed mine this morning.
Stay well, everyone. It’s cold outside. Take care of each other. We’re all in this madcap race called “life” together. Let’s act like it.