Thursday, September 23, 2010

You'll Never Read This...

What is it about us as a human race that instantly allows us to see the bad in people before we see the good? I honestly think it's because our generations have seen more bad than good in people, so it makes us question the motives of everyone we meet.

I like to think that I'm different. I like to think that I give everyone an equal chance if I don't know them. However, yesterday I proved that I am not immune to the pull of the suspicious nature that lurks inside of me.

The Missus and I were eating in Subway, and in walked a guy who was not wearing the best of clothes, and he just looked...wormy. You know the type. He walked up to the counter and asked for a plastic bag to put a couple of candy bars in, then he asked if someone was available. The young lady behind the counter said no, and my eyes were glued to him.

He walked down the bar and proceeded to order a sandwich. The person making sandwiches was new, so it took a while. The whole time, he kept looking around, and in general making me nervous because he looked nervous.

He got to where he had to pay, and he made a show of feeling around in pockets and looking through his wallet and all that, then he said that he had forgotten his money. The lady at the register just looked at him and said, "Sorry." The young man just stood there. He wasn't leaving, and the lady wasn't giving him the sandwich for free. I watched, angry at the guy for doing what he was doing, thinking he was the world's biggest douchebag.

Finally a gentleman in overalls stepped in and paid for the sandwich. The "wormy" guy expressed his concern at paying the Samaritan back, and I thought it was a well put on show. I was incensed that this guy would do that, and I felt bad for the guy he was taking advantage of. At this point I was seriously considering saying something, but I held back. The Missus and I were finishing up, and we headed out the door behind the young man and his sandwich.

We weren't two steps outside when the guy drops to his knees and starts eating the sandwich right there on the sidewalk. He wasn't voracious about it, he just ate like maybe he hadn't in a while. Then I see his transportation, which was a hot pink bicycle. Obviously not something he'd choose on his own.

In that instant, something tore loose in my heart. The suspicion was gone, even though the whole thing may have been an act. I'll never know if it was, but I just don't think that's what was happening. I started to wonder of maybe this was the only way he knew how to get food. Then I started thinking about the blessing I was missing by not offering to help him out. I asked myself what I could do to make his situation better from here.

Instead of doing anything, I drove away.

I'll never get the chance to apologize. I have to live with that.

My challenge to you is that you don't let yourself get so caught up in being better than someone that you forget to be a decent human being. I can only hope you do that better than me. We're all people. We should all get that first chance. Some of us are even lucky enough to have gotten a second. Remember that.