Last year, in the middle of winter, a wealthy bar owner from New York, who had a day off from work, and who was consequently bored half to death, decided that he wanted to try an experiment. He was growing a little tired of rude, discourteous, and non-gracious patrons in his bar. He dressed up as a homeless man, went out and lay in the street near his apartment, and began asking passers-by for a hand. He would ask for things like a blanket, money, clothing, or food…Anything that people would be willing to give. He simply wanted to see how quickly the good in our world would show its face to him once again. He was sure that it was out there.
It was also bitter cold that day, so he figured that he would not have to brave the elements very long. Somebody would certainly be more than willing to help, so that he would not freeze to death out there. He had also decided that the first person to help him would receive a $100 bill, and a free meal at his bar.
The hours came and went, and the air got colder and colder. He laid there, and he laid there and he laid there. He was now freezing half to death. Some of the wealthiest businessmen of NYC had passed by him, time and time again. None of them even gave a second thought to actually stopping in this raw, cold, air, to help someone in need…Especially not someone who could blame themselves for being there in the first place. After all, it had to be his fault.
He should just go and get a job, right!?
The real shock though, was the fact that he was also passed, by tons and tons of other, seemingly normal, nice, everyday people. They would not even pause a second for him.
Some of these people never looked up from their phones or their newspaper, others simply stepped right over him, and a few even made rude comments, before then stepping on him. One thing was consistent all day long…Not 1 of them did anything even remotely close to helping him. He could not believe it. He figured that he had been passed over by thousands…And that was just during the lunch hour. He thought to himself, “Where is the grace in our world?”
Then, along comes a fellow who doesn’t look to be so well off himself. He was limping a bit, and his clothes seemed to be something out of one of those collection bins for shoes and clothing. He was very unkempt, and certainly appeared to have no way of helping him out. Upon approaching the man, the stranger took a hard left turn. The man figured he was gone. Much to the man’s surprise, the stranger appeared again with a cup of hot coffee for both of them, and a very used sleeping bag. He said, “Here, you may have these. It looks like you are certainly in need. I was once just like you. I had no money, no home, and nowhere to turn. Luckily for me, a nice lady took me in, and allowed me to set up a makeshift apartment on her screened in/wind protected front porch. This allowed me to at least get on my feet a little bit and then to go out and find a job at local diner as a bus boy and dishwasher. I am close to being out on my own, and I now would like to help you towards that same goal. Maybe you could move in there when I move out. The lady likes the protection of having me around”
The wealthy bar owner was Stunned…Overwhelmed…And he became very emotional.
He said, “I can’t believe, that out of all of the people that have passed me by. Those who have so much, in terms of material things, money, new clothes, and more. Out of all of them, you were the only one who noticed my need, and came to my aid. Someone whom could actually use a hand himself.”
With that, the man gave the stranger the $100 and the free meal. He then did the unthinkable. He offered him a job in his restaurant and a room in his apartment. The stranger stayed in the apartment just long enough to be able to save up some money, and then moved out into his own place. These 2 men worked together, and spent many good times together over the next many years.
And…They also continued one tradition together. Each and every month, they would both pose as homeless men on the streets, and they would offer up help and a reward to the first person to reach out and give them a hand. They loved doing this together!
Have you offered a hand lately?
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