|I was in a hurry and stopped at a gas station to fill up. While I was outside my car a man came up to me and asked if I could spare a buck or two for gas, he, his wife, and his daughter were traveling but were broke and barely made it to the station. They had a broken down old volvo and it was clear that they were vagabonds of some sort who lived in their car. The kid was at most two years old. I was pretty low on cash myself but I thought hey what the hell, I could use some affirmation that people can be kind if I were in their situation. So I swiped my card at their pump and said, "Fill it up. Good luck to you and your family, I hope this can get you where you're going" and walked away. He started crying as I left and I would have lost it too if I wasn't too proud to do so in public. To see a grown man cry like that - both for having received an unexpected gift and for having to be put in the position of begging to keep his family safe, was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I haven't told anyone until now.|
I was day tripping to Vancouver from Seattle and stopped in for lunch at a little cafe. From my window I saw a young teenage girl out in the cold, squatted down in a closed up businesses doorway, holding a small bundle in her arms. She was panhandling, people were mostly walking by ignoring her. She looked just broken. |
I finished up my meal and went outside, went through my wallet and thought I'd give her $5 for some food. I got up to her and she was sobbing, she looked like she was 14-15. And that bundle in her arms was a baby wrapped up. I felt like I just got punched in the chest. She looked up putting on a game face and asked for any change, I asked her if she's like some lunch. Right next door was a small quick-Trip type grocery store, I got a can of formula for the baby (very young, maybe 2-3 months old.), and took her back to the cafe though I'd just eaten. She was very thankful, got a burger and just inhaled it. Got her some pie and ice cream. She opened up and we talked. She was 15, got pregnant, parents were angry and she was fighting with them. She ran away. She's been gone almost 1 full year.
I asked her if she's like to go home and she got silent. I coaxed her, she said her parents wouldn't want her back. I coaxed further, she admitted she stole 5k in cash from her Dad. Turns out 5k doesn't last long at all and the streets are tough on a 15 year old. Very tough. She did want to go back, but she was afraid no one wanted her back after what she did.
We talked more, I wanted her to use my phone to call home but she wouldn't. I told her I'd call and see if her folks wanted to talk to her, she hesitated and gave bad excuses but eventually agreed. She dialed the number and I took the phone, her Mom picked up and I said hello. Awkwardly introduced myself and said her daughter would like to speak to her, silence, and I heard crying. Gave the phone to the girl and she was just quiet listening to her Mom cry, and then said hello. And she cried. They talked, she gave the phone back to me, I talked to her Mom some more.
I drove her down to the bus station and bought her a bus ticket home. Gave her $100 cash for incidentals, and some formula, diapers, wipes, snacks for the road.
Got to the bus, and she just cried saying thank you over and over. I gave her a kiss on the forehead and a hug, kissed her baby, and she got on the bus.
I get a chistmas card every year from her. She's 21 now and in college.
Her name is Makayla and her baby was Joe.
I've never really told anyone about this. I just feel good knowing I did something good in this world. Maybe it'll make up for the things I've f-ed up.
What is the nicest thing YOU've ever done that no one knows about?