Although I work at Congregations for the Homeless, I don’t have much contact with our clients. I’m the IT Guy, so I mostly work with the office staff and case managers. I stop by the various computer labs, but it’s easier to do my work when nobody’s using the computers. So my
impressions of homeless guys tend towards the ones we all see—somebody standing on a corner with a cardboard sign that says “Homeless Anything Helps.”
Last night I got one of the more thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received — from a homeless guy. Let’s call him Jim. I’ve seen him around the office, and we’ve chatted a few times, but I don’t know much about him. I regularly ride my motorcycle to the offices, because it’s fun and cheap. I even ride when it’s cold and raining. Last night, we were serving dinner at the Emergency Winter Shelter, and Jim came up and said, “Well,
I didn’t wrap these because I don’t do things like that. But I worry that your hands get cold when you ride in the winter. I thought you could use these gloves way more than I could.” He handed me a pair of brand new thick Thinsulate gloves worth $40. Nice gloves. They even have a zippered pouch in them that holds a hand warmer. I know how much they cost because the price tag was still on them. Now, I don’t think
for a moment that Jim used his own money to buy these. They were probably a gift from one of our supporters to him. But he could easily have taken them to any store and gotten cash for them—they still had all the tags attached. Instead, he thought of somebody who could use
a pair of gloves more than he could, and he unhesitatingly gave them away.
I don’t think I would do the same thing in this situation. I would probably cash them out for the 40 bucks. I hope that someday I will learn
to be as thoughtful, kind, and generous as the homeless guy in the shelter. Thanks, Jim. That makes two gifts you gave me.
To make sure the karmic scales stayed balanced, I made a $40 donation to CFH. I’m keeping the gloves, though!