Do you carry coins with you?
Today, I would have been really glad to have some extra coins on me for the rough, but friendly looking
beggar food insecure woman…
I used to carry coins, but not a lot. Mostly I use my debit card to pay for stuff, now that this payment method is installed practically everywhere, even the local fruit and veggie shop up the road from my house.
At the very least, I keep a dollar and a quarter coin on me, for the carts at the larger markets. But since covid, some places don’t bother with the coin carts anymore.
When I saw the beggar woman sit on the ground in front of the drug store this morning, which I had to pass in order to get to the veg store, I remembered thinking she was probably my age. But she looked so rough; her skin weathered from spending much of her time outside, possibly from smoking or other substance abuse, and her clothes worn and well-used. She was blond, hair tied in a ponytail, and she sported the brightest blue eyes I have see in a long time.
But what struck me the most was her smile. She smiled at me when I passed her, and didn’t stop smiling when I didn’t stop to give her some change.
I thought, crap, why don’t I have anything to give her?
I briefly contemplated if I should walk further and pick something up for her at the bakery, but then realized that shop wasn’t open yet. Covid affected so many business in this neighbourhood…
So, I did my shopping and on the way back to my car, nodded at her. She smiled and wished me a happy day.
I felt bad, but encouraged that she, who has it so much worse than most of us, displayed such a sunny disposition.
When I got into my car I dug around my bag and wallet. Lo and behold, I found $1.50 in coins. (If I had found some bills I would have been even happier…)
The street I parked on was a one way, so I had to drive back toward the drug store on the main road to turn west. I was right in front of the drug store again. Hoping she was still there, I pulled up and saw that she was sitting at the same post as earlier. She turned to look at me as I lowered my passenger side window, and I motioned for her to come up to the car.
“Hi,” she greeted me, like I was a long lost friend.
“I found some coins for you,” I told her and handed them to her across the seat. “I’m sorry it’s not more…”
She smiled again and said: “Oh thank you honey, I so appreciate it!”
I was kind of stunned. What a lovely lady.
She thanked me again a couple of times as I waited for the traffic to subdue so I could pull into the street, and then I drove off. She waved to me.
This thought-provoking occurrence ended up being the highlight of my morning, which was filled with poop and pee all over the main floor of the house, courtesy of this poopyhead:
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fill my baggie and wallet with a few coins and some bills. Because as the weather gets cooler, I suspect there will be more, not less, hungry people waiting outside of the shops for a little bit of kindness.