A Kind GestureA Story by Adrián
A wealthy young man with repugnance for people and distaste for compassion is given a wakeup call from a random mother who gives a kind gesture after he refuses to.
“Exactly why should I get up today?” I thought to myself when I did. I looked at the time: 10:00 am. I can’t believe I woke up this early on my day off! Already my day is on a crappy start. I got up anyway. I walked to the bathroom for a quick leak. Ugh, I hate when the sun glares through the window in the morning. It blinded me for a minute. Smart move to get a house with sun light windows, genius. I had absolutely nothing planned for today, but I was really hungry. I walked downstairs into my kitchen to see what I had. A half empty carton of spoiling milk, a previously cracked and drying egg, a tub of frozen-solid ice cream, a bag of stale chips, two rotting apples. Whatever, nothing really seemed exactly edible. “Why not go out to eat?” I’ve been told that I talk to myself often, but I don’t notice. It really has been a long time since I’ve gone out for breakfast, so I decided to go for it. I’ll go ahead and skip the shower, and head on over to food (wherever that may be). When I backed out in my truck, I already felt repent to the idea, but I’m still pretty damn hungry. There was a Denny’s downtown that I remember having gone to before, so I decided to go there. I remember those delicious stuffed French toasts that I used to have when I was a kid whenever my mom took me. Or was that IHOP? Whichever it was, those things would always make me happy.
Driving there, I thought about how lame it is that a single man could live so lonely in a two-story house. I don’t really have anyone close to me, yet I’m living a wealthy lifestyle. That means fewer problems for me, I guess. There’s no one to look after, no extra mouths to feed, and much fewer bills to pay. The way I see it, it’s more for me, and I don’t really have to share. Thinking about this always makes me smile. I’m sure one day, I’ll find someone tolerable enough to live with for the rest of my life, but quite frankly, I don’t count on it.
I finally got to the Denny’s and am absolutely disgusted with the line inside. The place is freaking full! That means I have to walk into the crowd of annoying people, and I know I’ll be forced to be brushing next to moms with their brats, or rude adults, and I am inevitably going to have to touch them. I should have stayed home. I got out of the car and as soon as I get to the front door, I see a homeless man leaning on the wall near me. I already felt annoyed at the thought of him asking for money. I tried to avoid eye contact with him, feeling that in doing so will miraculously make him disappear from my presence. But of course, the true reality is the man has absolutely no same whatsoever to beg from anyone that passes by him. He speaks up. I already have in mind, “I don’t have change sorry,” but instead of asking for change, the man pleads, “Excuse me, sir, would you mind buying me something small to eat, anything at all? I’m really hungry.” I honestly did not expect him to ask for food rather than cash. I really wasn’t sure what to do, he surprised me. Normally, whenever I see people who look like this, the image of the personality that comes to mind is lazy a*s who decided not to get a job, or get addicted to some illegal substance or something, and lives life mooching off of other people’s sympathy. I never ever give to bums, but only because I cannot trust them.
My mother always told me stories about hobos who only beg money to go buy beer or pot. I even remember her telling me about this time she saw a hobo walking across the street with his shopping cart, and at the other side he stopped to answer his cell phone. We cracked up at the story, but it just goes to show how many people don’t need financial help but still roam the streets begging for spare change. But what do I say to this man, who only asks for food? Thinking it through, I would think that I would get awkward buying him something only to watch him eat, having to sit by him, and then I thought about how his grimy hands are going to touch the table that I eat off of. So, I decided not to.
“Um, I’m sorry, but, no.” I told him.
He looked hurt, but told me “Alright. God bless.” I quickly walked in, and told the waitress that I’m a table for one. I looked back and he still sat there. Now I began feeling that awkwardness again. Damn that guy for making me feel bad! What right does he have to make me feel guilt? He was ruining my already crappy day. There wasn’t much I could do, so I just waited. I ended up only having to wait for 15 minutes until I told the woman to seat me at the bar. She was incompetent enough to not be able to assume that a near thirty-year old man by his lonesome would fit better at the bar rather than a table, which the rest of the world is waiting for, and I had to let her know myself. I normally wouldn’t because it would mean I sit so close to other mucky people, but they do serve me faster at the bar. It turned out that Denny’s didn’t have the stuffed French toast and it was at IHOP, so I got really pissed off, but decided to not get mad at the waitress. She was a decent looking young thing, and looked like she was on the road to a bigger career choice, and only here for work experience, and she had that attitude where she would walk over anyone who would try to get in her way. She seemed to me as the type who would fight back if I chose to argue with her, and I would rather not have to deal with that today. Besides, my confusion of what restaurant my favorite breakfast dish is served wasn’t really a fair fight to choose with a random waitress, the mix-up was my fault anyway"but I still wanted to punch something. When I did finish my food"which might I add, was overcooked, and the coffee was too damn strong, not cold enough, and the pancakes weren’t as fluffy as I remember them to be"I went to pay. I didn’t bother with a tip, with such a snotty-looking waitress like her. When I did, I saw the homeless man still in that spot, talking to another woman!
This woman, well into her thirties, held one infant in her arm and another child in her hand standing beside her. I see her nod her head and mouth “Yea, sure.” The man got up. When they walk inside, I can see the waitress’s face brighten. When she asks for a table of four, the waitress replies “Sure, there’s one right over here, follow me.” This woman practically jumped to the front of the line! On top of that, only a few people looked bothered, but no one spoke up about her line jump. At that point, I realized that the poor man had probably been sitting there since the restaurant opened in the morning, pleading from everyone simply for something to eat. How could these people be so selfish? What a bunch a******s, they don’t even get him the simplest form of any snack! And then it hit me. I’m one of those selfish a******s, unwilling to give anything at all to a person in actual need. How in the world did that happen? I used to be good to people to when I was a child, I would get mad at my mom whenever she was insensitive to other people’s needs. But now I’m exactly like that. Could that be the reason I’ve scared my friends and family off? I’d suppose because I’ve become insensitive to everyone around me, I have no one. Now I felt horrible! With even a simple gesture, the mother invited that man into her day, into her breakfast hour, into her heart. I could have done that, been the hero, and it wouldn’t even cost me much. Now, this woman was seating the man with her at the table booth, and anyone could see the grateful look on the hungry man’s face. I couldn’t help but feel touched by this mother’s kindness to feed the homeless man. It took her no more work than to agree to help him. With a sudden pulse that I instantly listened to, I walked up to her.
“Um, this is for you, ma’am.” I gave her a twenty-dollar bill. “It’s for his, uh, lunch.” Not knowing what to do or say, I walked away. I saw that she looked confused, but I left them there anyway. Getting into my car, I didn’t know what to think. I really felt like crying then, but I knew that was ridiculous, there was no reason to. I began to drive off. A lump grew in my throat. Now I was thinking about how there really were so many people in our society today who really do suffer with starvation and succumb to living in the streets. Here I am, alone in my home enjoying the amounts money I make and spend for my own purposes and no one else’s. There was never a time in my life I have felt so lonely as I did that day. Another thought occurred. Will I be living like this for the rest of my life?
I never realized that there were so many people in the world who aren’t willing to give up a part of their time and money to help those in need around them, including myself. I was really that big of an a*****e, and always put my own conveniences before others’. I really have no idea of what I should do now. I guess now I’ll just go home, and rest for a while, but probably won’t be able to. At home I know that I’ll not be able to think about anything other than what happened today. Had I left before the mother arrived there, I would have hated my decision to go out to eat at all. But for once I’m not regretting my decisions.
© 2011 Adrián
AboutI am a student at UC Santa Cruz looking to pursue a career in literature. Since early childhood my dream was to be a writer, and I've always loved to read and write. I absolutely love a good story! more..