It was a beautiful day for sightseeing around downtown
Portland. We were a bunch of counselors on our day off,
away from the campers, just out for some fun. The weather
was perfect for a picnic, so when lunch time came, we set
our sights on a small park in town. Since we all had
different cravings, we decided to split up, get what each of
us wanted, and meet back on the grass in a few minutes.
When my friend Robby headed for a hot dog stand, I
decided to keep her company. We watched the vendor put
together the perfect hot dog, just the way Robby wanted it.
But when she took out her money to pay him, the man
"It looks a little on the cool side," he said, "so
never mind paying me. This will be my freebie of the day."
We said our thanks, joined our friends in the park, and
dug into our food. But as we talked and ate, I was
distracted by a man sitting alone nearby, looking at us. I
could tell that he hadn't showered for days. Another
homeless person, I thought, like all the others you see in
cities. I didn't pay much more attention than that.
We finished eating and decided to head off for more
sightseeing. But when Robby and I went to the garbage can
to throw away my lunch bag, I heard a strong voice ask,
"There isn't any food in the bag, is there?"
It was the man who had been watching us. I didn't know
what to say. "No, I ate it already."
"Oh," was his only answer, with no shame in his voice
at all. He was obviously hungry, couldn't bear to see
anything thrown away, and was used to asking this question.
I felt bad for the man, but I didn't know what I could
do. That's when Robby said, "I'll be right back. Please
wait for me for a minute," and ran off. I watched curiously
as she went across to the hot dog stand. Then I realized
what she was doing. She bought a hot dog, crossed back to
the trash can, and gave the hungry man the food.
When she came back to us, Robby said simply, "I was
just passing on the kindness that someone gave to me."
That day I learned how generosity can go farther than
the person you give to. By giving, you teach others how to