#2. Am I Selfish?
Why do we behave the way we do?
It was some time between 1993 and 1995. My workplace was just two blocks from where we lived back then. I always walked to work. On one fine morning, I was walking and decided to get some Starbucks Coffee before getting into the bank.
As always, there were way too many people inside Starbucks. What is up with people and coffee anyway?
What is the difference between addicting to something that is called illegal and something that is not? Well, I know what you may already be thinking, “Uh…dah…difference is [illegal]” Well my thinking is…” addiction is an addiction” correct? Well okay, …now to stick with my story….
I was getting close to Starbucks. There were way too many people going in. While I was right behind a few people, my nose was attacked by a stench of really unbearable smell. I wondered what it was!
Right at the time I was stepping inside, I noticed this homeless person asking for change and everyone was ignoring and walking past him or going into the coffee shop. I did the same too.
While standing in line for 2 or 3 minutes, I kept thinking about homeless people and how the numbers are increasing and how annoying it is to see those asking for change while you are passing them by! The second I see a homeless person ahead of me, all I could think of was ‘oh no, now I have to pretend to ignore that this person even existed! It is so painful to walk by him/her.’ Most of us in general, are self-centered whether anyone agrees or not. Why am I feeling guilty? In my defense….I did not cause him/her to be homeless! This was my thought!! Sad!!
Most homeless people started increasing since the Vietnam war and most of them are veterans. There may be reasons including social, mental, and economic just to name a few out of many. Most of these people fought for their country for reasons, which were absurd. When they started they were young and strong both mentally and physically. If they were not physically fit they were trained for it. They fought for a cause they thought was patriotic and they fought with enthusiasm. A lot of them gave their lives for their country. When they came back the ghosts from the past did not let them be. They haunted them until their sanity is gone. They lost families, peace of mind and got addicted to drugs. Now they are almost considered nobody.
These were some of the awful, conflicting and sad thoughts came into my mind while still waiting for my turn to get my coffee. My turn came and the girl at the counter greeted me with a smile and a “Good morning”. I reciprocated. She said once again with a smile “What can I get you?”
Without even having a second thought I said “2 café Mocha non-fat with whipped cream please” also with a smile. While she was handing over the order to another girl, I realized I ordered 2 café mocha!! Then a smile came on to my face. I took both cups of coffee and stepped outside and went to the homeless person and said, “Hi would you like some coffee?"
The look on his face was speechless. I wish I had a camera to take a picture of his face. Here was a homeless guy with really dirty and messy clothes, with equally messy hair and on top of it emanating an awful smell but his face just lit up with the question I asked and I just didn’t have words to explain how I felt. That was the most beautiful face with the happiest smile I had seen that day. He said thank you several times and took the coffee with heartfelt gratitude. I said “you are welcome, have a nice day” and walked away to my work. That feeling can never be able to explain completely as to how I felt that day. After all, all I did was just gave him a cup of coffee but doing something as simple as that can really make one feel happy at that moment.
If not for anything else, we should at least help others within our limits whenever an opportunity arises so WE can be happy. I know this sounds selfish but hey it works for me to be okay with everything in life.
Beautiful Aruna. I always help whenever I see homeless. Usually a dollar or 2. Gives you some satisfaction.
I have done this too Aruna. It’s hard to see homeless and not feel sadness. Many are vets and so many are mentally ill. We don’t take care of these folks and this is horrendous
Hi Jan. I just saw your message. I agree. We can still do whatever we can as long as it is within our limits. May be I am being selfish in a different way.
I definitely relate to your story. Last week I followed a homeless man through a local park so I could give him some granola bars that I found in my late husband’s work bag. I felt happy too.
Yeah Kim. If it makes me happy, I would rather be selfish by helping someone.