I’ve acknowledged before that I can be a real klutz. Over the last couple of weeks this has been glaringly obvious: I have bruises on my knees to prove it.

One night I had Cate and Grace (one of Cate’s best friends) in tow. While exiting a grocery store we were greeted by a man asking for money. We chatted a bit and then I gave him a dollar. I actually don’t often give out money, but for some reason this time I did. As we walked away I tripped on…something…and I quite spectacularly fell, nearly on my face. The plastic bag of food I was carrying tore open and spilled everywhere. Cate and Grace ran to help, quickly followed by my new friend- the man outside the store. This man helped me up, ran inside to get me a reusable bag to replace the plastic one now in shreds, gathered the scattered food and made sure I was okay.

In the flurry of activity the loonie that I had just placed in this man’s hat went flying. Once things settled the four of us got to the work of finding it. What a scene. The two girls were on their hands and knees, I was looking under the Christmas greenery leaned against the building, he was combing the sidewalk. We never found it. And I didn’t have another one in my pocket.

I felt terrible. He however did not. He said, “that’s okay. Somebody who needs it even more will find it. I’m sorry you hurt yourself. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help. God bless”. Then he walked me to my car.

This incident, along with the giant bruise on my left knee, keeps reminding me that it is better to give than receive. All too often so many of my friends who experience the exclusion that comes from living in poverty are denied the gift of giving. This story is not about me giving somebody some money. No, it is about somebody helping me.


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