Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The windows of my gym overlook the cramped little parking area of the Town Square.
As I trundle along on the treadmill I watch the people as they come out of the encircling shops and head for their cars.
People watching is a fav hobby and it sure helps take my mind off the gym-pain.

This was the scene for my lightbulb moment.

I noticed the guy who issues the parking permits from his little box at the entrance to the area -
Then I thought of his co-worker - a large woman who does the same job in the same friendly way. A warm affection filled me - they are both unfailingly pleasant and smiling.

The thought 'arrived'
How about buying small Christmas gifts for people like them this year?
People who are part of my daily round; people who work hard; have done their tedious jobs with a smile and a pleasant word?
People who make a difference to everyone's day just by their demeanor: often people who have very little in the way of material things.
Instead of (or in addition to) giving money to an organisation, or to a faceless child.

The other day, a miserable windy and wet day, I pulled up at a red robot, fretting a bit because I didn't need the delay.
Also because every robot has its quota of people selling stuff I don't need and don't want.
I also don't like being harrassed.
Nor do I like the guilty feeling that goes with saying 'No'

This man comes to my car window with his Big Issues: with his bare feet and raggy clothes.
In the wind.
In the cold.
In the rain
My heart sinks.
But he has a big smile on his face.
And when I say 'No thanks' the smile stays. And he doesn't press me.

The robot stays red.
So I commiserate with him about the weather.
He agrees that its cold, pulls his clothes tighter around him and says: "At least I have a rainjacket"

"At least I have a rainjacket" !

The robot changes
I move off  - my throat suddenly tight and acheing
Almost blinded by sudden tears
For him - symapthy, yes - but much more
For the beauty I saw in this man.
For me - yes, for the lack of . . .  what he showed.
And for the way of life
That people suffer.
But more than that -
For the wonder of fine character that can shine through in that.

Everyone is a teacher of life
They are there, if we look.

I want people like that to know this year that they matter; that who they are, matters.
Now I have to go shopping.

PS: Ness, (and others who joined the conversation on the previous post) I haven't finished with that subject. Thanks for your input. We'll come back to it, kay?


Lynette said...

That is a wonderful idea...I like it. As for the robot do know that they have other options don't you? We work with them and in many cases they don't want discipline to be part of their lives and most of them drink heavily. They come to shelters in the winter and return to the streets in summer.

Meriel said...

hot coffee and ice cold cokes. thats my gift for newspaper sellers, parking guards and petrol attendants. it gives me so much pleasure to just pass them a coffee or coke as if they were a lifelong friend.

Trix's Mix said...

You have such a kind heart Allie - If only there were more people like you in this world!

Simply-Mel said...

Sjoe! Makes me stop in my tracks and look at everything differently.

Beautiful post.

Olivia said...

I love the 'Everyone is a Teacher of life'...This summarizes my (so far) life experience! And I love the fact that I get to experience that over and over again...I hope it will make me a better person, but also will help me not to lose hope in humanity! Bisous Allie

clare said...

Wouldnt it be wonderful if he didnt have to stand at the robot and beg, I hate to see people with no options or 2nd chances in life. I dont miss it. I have seen a tramp in Ipswich who happily sleeps in the beautiful church entrance with his little jack russel and what seems like not a care in the world.