Sometimes the people who are noticed the least can do the most to lift us up...
On Thanksgiving morning I got up early to run in the local 5K run. I figured it might give me the motivation to get back into running. It was nearly freezing that morning so everyone getting ready to run was hopping around trying to stay warm.
On the side of the road, sitting in the grass, was a man wrapped in a blanket. It was pretty obvious he was homeless and as usual, most people pretended not to see him. I went over and talked with him for a few minutes before the race. In the midst of the idle chit-chat, he told me that he was a veteran and had hoped he might be able to earn a few dollars that morning to be able to go buy a Thanksgiving dinner. He had a glimmer of happy memories in his eyes when he talked about hot turkey and stuffing. With only a brief moment to sit with him, I had to start the race but I told him I'd talk to him more when I had finished. He said he would be there watching "the parade" that he hadn't expected that morning, and would watch to see me cross the finish line
I thought about this man during most of the race. I'm in the military and it always hurts me to see someone who served going through such a rough time. He hadn't asked me for anything, but I wanted to do something for him. But what? I only had a couple dollars, certainly not enough for a thanksgiving dinner for the man.
After the race I went back over and sat in the grass next to him, that got me more than a few odd looks from other runners. During our conversation I gave him the cash I had. He didn't want to accept it, but I told him I wanted him to have it and that it may get him a little something extra during the day. He then said, "This has been so nice. Thank you. I haven't really talked to anybody in a real long time."
"Wow", I thought. This man is thanking me for just talking to him? I'm nobody special."
After I said good bye, I went up to a couple of other people who were involved with the race. I asked them if they had a couple of dollars for a homeless veteran who just wanted to buy a hot Thanksgiving dinner. I think he ended up getting enough for a good dinner that night.
I went to the run to try to do something for myself, but he did more for me than I could ever have gotten out of just running. He showed me how to smile through the rough times and reminded me not to take for granted the many blessings I have.