Since I couldn't hear him I didn't know how to answer him and then I heard my granddaughter say “No, I”m sorry.” “What dd he want?” I asked her. “Wait” she said. We got a little closer to the car and then she said “He asked if we had any money, even 50 cents”
I didn't have any cash on me but I did have two quarters in my pocket. I gave her the keys and told her to wait for me in the car. “He probably just wants to buy cigarettes or something.” She said to me. I said to her “If all I can do is help this guy get some cigarettes to help him make it through the day then that's what I'm going to do.”
I walked back and said “Hey!” He turned around, saw me and came running. “Look” I said “All I got on me is 50 cents but it's yours if you want it.” He was sincerely grateful.
When the opportunity presents itself I never miss a chance teach my children or my grandchildren a lesson. Mariah didn't say anything but I felt that she was puzzled that I went back to give the man my change. I got in the car and said “I'm going to teach you two quotes today that I have carried around inside of me for years. The first quote is “There but for the grace of God go I”. “Do you understand what that means?” She shook her head and said “No”.
It isn't always easy to verbalize a quote, even when I know exactly what it means but I tried. “It means, that he could be me but God has blessed me.” I wanted eye contact because I wanted to make sure she understood what I was trying to say. “Not everyone has what you have, a mother that works hard to give you a good life. Not everyone has that. You have been blessed. Do you get what I'm saying? “Yes, I do” “I don't have a lot but God has blessed me with a home and my family, and he has blessed me with you!" That made her smile.
I told her about a guy I knew from work that got laid off during the 1990's. A few years later I went to the company store and he was sitting out in the front with a sign asking for money. We recognized each other. We talked for a few minutes. He told me after he got laid off, he couldn't find another job, eventually he lost his home, his wife left him, he got sick and life just spiraled downward. “There but for the grace of God go I” I said. “life can change in a heartbeat!”
“You know Honey, I'm sure that guy doesn't want to be standing out there today asking for money. We never know any one's story. This is why we need to show them mercy and understanding.”
“The other quote is “I used to complain about not having any shoes til I met a man without any feet.” No explanation need for this one. It was almost self explanatory. She got it.
I took her back to school and before she got out I said “I don't know what you're going to learn here today but you learned something from your grandfather today didn't you? “Yes I did” She said. “Good , give me a kiss and call me if you need a ride home.”