In the Spirit of Giving

Commentary By Lucille Egan

     It was a cold morning and I was at the Westside market.  As I stood there selling the Street Chronicle, I noticed a homeless man walking around.  He had a large backpack on his back with about twenty zippers on it.  He walked over to me and said, “Here are three pennies for you.”  I said, ‘thank you sir,’ and he smiled.  Then he walked over to the bell ringer and said, “Here’s three pennies for the Salvation Army.”  The man seemed happy about his good deed and went on his journey, and followed the sun.

      I watched the man as he walked.  He seemed calm and happy.  I wondered where he might have been going.  Was he going to St. Augustine’s on West 14th, or the Westside Catholic Center, or maybe Downtown?  Wherever he went I hoped it was somewhere warm.  He seemed like such a nice gentleman.  I wondered what happened to make him homeless, but I didn’t want to be nosey and ask him.

       It amazed me at how generous he was with what little he had.  He was a man without a home, carrying everything he owned on his back.  He gave away all of change that he probably picked off the ground to help someone else without wanting anything in return.  It touched me because many people who have good jobs and have a home hate to give to those who are less fortunate than them unless they are getting a tax write-off.  Many people who have jobs and homes also don’t seem as happy as this man.  He seemed as if he was just happy that he made it to another day, and is probably the type who prayed and thanked God each day.  A lot of people who are lucky enough to have a good job and a home often fail to be happy and thank God for it.  People could learn a lot from this man that I met at the West Side Market.

 Copyright Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Cleveland Street Chronicle #19.1 April – May 2012