Have you ever met somebody that has completely changed your life? They alter the way you look at people, think about people and treat people? I have. A complete stranger has opened my eyes to reality and I feel I have to share my story.
I’ve always been the type of person who enjoys working. I hate sitting around, I hate being bored and I really hate being broke. But when you work too hard you can get tired, stressed and even bitter.
I felt sorry for myself, as if I had something to feel sorry for. I have family and friends who love and support me, a roof over my head, food in my stomach and an umbrella to keep me dry when it rains. Why was I so negative?
It hit me all at once when I was driving home from work when I saw a homeless man stumbling across the street. He was barely able to lift his leg. I don’t know when, where or how he got his injury, but it was clear he was hurt. The rain was pouring, as it always seems to do in Florida and I couldn’t help but tear up. Here was this man, barely able to walk and here I am honking my horn at the person in front of me because they’re going slow. Well, it turned out they were going slow to avoid hitting the limping man crossing the street.
I stopped my car and took a deep breath. Without hesitation, I shouted out to the man who was now in the middle of the road, “Excuse me, sir!” I looked him in his eyes and I handed him my bright pink umbrella. His eyes were full of tears and his body was covered in rain. “God Bless You” he said to me. I couldn’t say a single word. I drove away and thought to myself, “stop feeling sorry for yourself when you’re tired.”
This man, a complete stranger was homeless and hurt. He sleeps in a bus stop, walks in the rain and doesn’t have a place to call home. Homelessness in Florida is a huge issue and many of us are blind to it or we choose to ignore it. I chose to look the other way. I was living my selfish life trying to figure out why I was so miserable and came to one conclusion. I wasn’t thankful. I wasn’t thinking about the biggest blessings in my life: a family, a home and a job.
I can only hope the man with the pink umbrella will make it through this tough point in his life. But if there is one thing we should all remember, it is to stop and appreciate what we have in our life and pay it forward to those in need.