Today I made a grown man cry

Today I made a grown man cry, I was so shocked that my simple act could reduce him to tears and stumbling with words.

As I walked towards the shop to get some chocolate for a sick mother I noticed an elderly man of about 70 leaning against the wall of the shop in his Sunday best counting his coins that he kept in a see through bank bag. As I walked closer I saw him leave the wall and slowly start to walk away from the shop in my direction, his shoulders slumped with such sadness.

Without thinking I put my hand in my pocket and then put my hand in his, he looked down and then looked up into my eyes, when they connected his filled with a rush of tears, he grabbed both my hands and said thank you so many times I was shocked. I couldn’t say anything to him other than “Dis vir jou Oom” (This is for you Uncle) which shocked him even more, a white girl calling a coloured man Oom, (To call someone Oom is one of the greatest signs of respect). His face just lit up and then I shocked him further by giving him a hug, by that time both of us were in such shock (I from his tears and him from what I did) that neither of us could talk so I just patted him on his back and told him that I hoped he had a wonderful day and walked into the shop speechless but smiling.

I tell you this story not for praise, not to make you think of me as a great person, for that I am not, I do not look for your praise. I will not tell you how much I gave him nor whether I could afford it or not, I will not tell you how many times I have done this nor the other crazy things that I have done. The only people that know are the ones who have been with me when I did them and the other person. I am not a saint, nor do I ever want to be seen as one.

The fact that people curse and swear at these people when they are doing the best they can, they are too old to work, they have hardly anything, they don’t even ask for charity! They are the forgotten ones, they are the wise ones for they have been where we have been and more, yet we ignore them, why?

*Boring statistic: This elderly gentleman is a pensioner, the average pension in SA is a grand total of R700 ($90) a month if you are lucky some get as little as R600 ($77). The food prices in SA are higher than in the UK which, if we look at it realistically, is ridiculous seen as the exchange rate is R16 to ₤1. On average per month to feed two people basics it will cost a R1000 ($130). Perhaps we are cheap, but those are basics, I’m talking milk, bread, vegetables and meat once a week.

I give you this story in hope that one day I might not have to walk back home with tears running down my cheeks in sadness that someone had to stand there in his best suit counting out his money to see if he had enough to buy simple groceries, not asking for charity or change from another soul for embarrassment and shame. I give you this story so that his tears from the shock of a simple act of kindness are no more.

Giving to others or being kind is unconditional, it should not have any price tag attached, it should not be done so as to get your name in the paper, or a tax cut, it should not be done to boost your public image or your self image, it should be done from one person to another with out any expectation of retribution.

This world is sick when a grown man cries for a simple act of kindness, how will this world ever get better if we don’t help it?

15 thoughts on “Today I made a grown man cry

  1. That is so nice of you, your story actually makes my eyes fill up with tears right now! If it is ok with you can I link this story so that some of my readers can read it?

  2. Hi Sisselkathrine, I would be honoured. As I said I only tell the story in hope that by all of us standing together, giving without expecting, perhaps this world will change from the one where a grown man cries from a simple act of kindness. Glad you liked the post and thanks for the visit 🙂 Chat soon. A

  3. you know, stories like this make me feel i need to be grounded all the time and not to be carried by the ways of the world. everyone of us has that soft heart that can really touch other people’s lives. simple random acts of kindness can really move the worlds of other people. thank you for posting this. 🙂

  4. How beautiful. The gift you gave was a gift to your own soul, a gift to that man, a gift to God, and a gift to our world.

    That simple bit of kindness on your part, that positive energy you gave out might have seemed just the smallest of pebbles in a great ocean, but its effects will be felt further than you could know.

    Here is my point – written in my own life experience:

    http://amberfireinus.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/the-spirit-of-pass-it-on/

    Big hugs to you today. You made ME smile. You made ME proud. And you made ME grateful to have someone like you in my life.

  5. Amber I am both speechless and my heart is filled to the brim as are my eyes, thank you for your kind words they mean a lot.

    Hopefully that drop in the ocean becomes a big big splash, my heart is still crying for the man and the world. *hugs*

  6. A lost race finding our way my friend – world is lucky to have you in it, you’re the dope! Hmmm you and I should write a post on how we met 😀 … arbitrary plane, woman in suit sitting next to good lookin’ muso on way to gig – 2 hours of chatting on music, life and race 😀

  7. Thanks. In my experience, to give, unconditionally, is the most profound and fullfiling act there can be. I am truly grateful for being given opportunities to give, be it money, favour, attention, compliment, appreciation, an object, gift… Whatever that makes other people’s life more beautiful. It touches the very deepest parts of my heart.
    I cannot remember who it was, but I believe one of the famous Zen teachers once said: “Those who give need to be grateful, not those who receive.”
    How very true.
    Thanks very much for sharing this. Next time do it again please, it brings so much inspiration.

  8. Robert, so right as Amber said it is a gift to the soul 🙂 I have always done this, always will, it is my only wish that it is passed on. How true is that Zen saying! Thanks for sharing, chat soon! Aud

  9. What a powerful, brief moment that changes people. That is the capacity of the human race that we don’t always see. A genuine act of kindness and giving that is unsolicited, and without need for recognition. THose are the moments when human souls really do connect, and we realize how interconnected we really are in this world. Thanks for sharing, Vanessa

  10. LOVED the story! You have a beautiful heart. My eldest daughter (when she was 12) was visiting grandpa and grandma in Gallop New Mexico…near a Native American Reservation. As she was going into a store, a elderly Native American came shuffling up behind her…she just did what came natural for her..she held the door open for him..and it triggered a similar response from him that you had…he looked at her and said “Thank you sister”…w/ much appreiciation in his eyes…It blew her away..here she was this little white girl from the Midwest and this elderly man connecting over such a simple act of kindness….I think she gets it from her dad 😉

  11. DM, thanks for your kind words, I love the story of your daughter and the elderly gentleman, so beautiful! What an amazing thing in someone so young makes my heart go all warm and fuzzy 😀

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