|NASA image, used under cc license|
This is a small story of a kind act.
One done with no expectation of reward or notice.
One done because we are all on this blue marble spinning in the void together and not one of us will get out of here alive.
One that is emblematic of the person my husband is, and how he respects and honors the legacy of his father-in-law.
My father was a wise man. This is not to say a formally learned one; he had only a high school education. But he was a curious man, an observant man, a practical man. He taught me many lessons as I was growing up and many of them (all?) had to do with humility and gratitude. He might not have categorized them as such, but from my vantage point in adulthood, I do.
He taught me the CEO and the janitor were worthy of the same respect. That 'if your job was digging ditches, then you dig the best damned ditches you know how to dig.' (Kind of a tongue twister!) And he always tipped generously, saying 'it won't make them rich, it won't make you poor, and it's the right thing to do.'
The right thing to do. That's something he taught me well and not just through his words.
So two nights ago, my husband came home after a long day at work followed by an equally long meeting. He seemed subdued - more than would be explained by the fatigue and the stresses of the day. I waited and it wasn't long before he told me about his evening.
He was walking through Boston to get to the venue when he walked by a homeless man on the sidewalk. The man was sober and clean; just sitting quietly asking for spare change.
My husband usually keeps change in his pocket, but tonight he had none. He stopped anyway. He opened his wallet, looking for a dollar bill for the man. He had no singles. He drew out a $5.00 bill and handed it to the man.
The man thanked him, then looked at the bill. He paused, looked again. Then he looked up at my husband and thanked him again, quietly, saying "Now I can eat dinner."
My husband reached out to shake the man's hand and wished him well.
They both had tears in their eyes.
My husband teared up again in telling me.
He said, "I heard your father's voice in my head saying 'It won't make them rich, it won't make you poor, and it's the right thing to do.'"
I tell this here not to embarrass my husband (though I know it does, even as he told me I could relay the story), nor for any kind of praise on his behalf, but to highlight a moment, a small kindness that meant so much more than that to two humans struggling to hold on as the planet whirls through the darkness.