I saw an old man sitting on a park bench looking down at his feet, which had no shoes on them. He didn’t look like a homeless man, but he did look a little strange, as he was writing on the ground with a stick. I went over to him to ask if he was OK, and he told me that he had been walking home after meeting his friend for lunch and had spotted a young man in the park trying to pull a splinter out of his own feet.
This young man was indeed homeless and had been hard hit by the recession, the drop in employment for his own skills, and a variety of other circumstances which had led him to his own troubles. So the old man had given him his own shoes to go and find a hospital to attend to his wound. Unfortunately, the old man had left his wallet at the restaurant for lunch and now couldn’t get a replacement pair and the restaurant was a good walk away.
Now it just so happened that I had been shopping that very day for a new pair of running shoes to replace my old scratty ones, and having run to the shops, was taking the old ones home to use as spares. So I pulled them out of my backpack and gave them to the old man. He gratefully accepted, put them on (a little large, but OK), thanked me and set on his way back to the restaurant to retrieve his wallet.
It was then that I noticed what he had been writing on the ground when I first saw him. I could just make out the words written in twig on the concrete… they said “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” It was like he knew what was going to happen already and his gratitude brought me to him. So with a tear in my own eye, I started to run home and say the same prayer over and over in gratitude of the lesson I had learned from this old man. As Alice Walker said: “Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say”.
Thank you for taking the time to read this little story. Namaste.