Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hot Chocolate and 2 Equals

Here's another very heartwarming story I just had to share with you that popped up in my email. I hope you enjoy it. ~ Kat

Last week, I went to work very early as I had a lot to do, and early mornings, before others get to work are the times I can be most productive. I arrived at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco from the East Bay around 5:30am and as I surfaced from underground, I checked my BlackBerry and noticed the next SF Muni bus was in 10 minutes.

Instead of waiting around for 10 minutes in the cold, I felt inspired to go buy this (possibly homeless?) man in a wheelchair something from the Starbucks. I had seen him before sitting outside in his wheelchair trying to stay warm, and quietly and politely shaking his cup gently (I've never heard him asking for change though) hoping someone will contribute some more coins.

I went up to him and asked "Brother, can I bring you some hot coffee from Starbucks?" He replied with "Hot Chocolate," immediately, without thinking about it. It took me a little bit aback how quickly he replied - he really knew he wanted the Hot Chocolate! I then told him I'd be back in a few minutes.

So I went to Starbucks, ordered the Hot Chocolate, and they asked me whether or not I wanted whipped cream. That also took me aback for a moment, trying to put myself in his shoes and wondering if he would like whipped cream on top. So I told the Starbucks person "a little, please."

I brought him the Hot Chocolate, decided not to "tag" him with a Smilecard as it did not seem appropriate even though I had one on me, and then went on my way.

The very next morning, I found myself at the Embarcadero station at the same time, approximately 5:30, and also had about 10 minutes before my bus was due to arrive. I looked up Market Street and he was there again, so I walked up and asked him if I could buy him another Hot Chocolate (it was also very cold that morning).

He said, "Yes, please," and I asked him if he wanted whipped cream or not, and he said, "No, two Equals." Again, that took me aback how quickly he answered (usually when people are deciding what they want, they pause at least ever so slightly to think about it). I clarified with him that he meant Equal, the sugar substitute, and he confirmed that is indeed what he wanted.

So I went to Starbucks, and after opening the door I noticed two things:

1) The difference in temperature between the frigid outside and the warm and fragrant-smelling inside of Starbucks

2) The song that was playing on Starbucks' "radio." It was that Christmas/holiday song about the drummer boy who plays for baby Jesus -- "I will play my drum for you, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum."

I had been reading a book the night before describing Jesus' life and service, and hearing that song was so powerful for me that I almost started crying in Starbucks, so for me it was confirmation for me that I was doing "the right thing" and that in his own way, Jesus was supporting me through giving me that beautiful synchronicity.

So, I paid for the Hot Chocolate and then looked through all the packets of sugar (raw sugar, equal, sweet & lo, and a few others) and took two Equals.

Then I walked a block and brought him the Hot Chocolate with two Equals and a napkin. He thanked me, and I went on my way to work.

Both interactions were so sweet for me. I don't know if I'll see him again or not, but I was touched and am a little different because of it. Different may not be the right word, morose "closer to my authentic self." It felt like a layer of whatever was getting between me (small ego self) and the real me (as spirit) thinned, or the veil was pulled back a bit.

Today as I reflect upon it on this day after Thanksgiving, I'm struck by the metaphor of the 2 Equals. On one hand, he was a homeless man in a wheelchair, and I was an employed person with full use of my limbs, but from another perspective, there is no difference between us. We are brothers, equals, children of God both trying to do our best to navigate what can be a challenging world.

Today's Tip: Buy someone a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with whipped cream today.

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