more than 5 but less than 10 years ago (= i was definitely an adult) i was in atlanta, georgia. my parents were there too. we were walking on the streets of downtown and needed to cross the street. but, being the big city, we knew we had to push the “walk” button and wait patiently. while we were waiting, i turned around and saw that my dad had wandered away a bit. what the heck was he doing? i saw him approaching a person (i can’t remember if it was a man or a woman) in a wheelchair that was backed up against a nearby building. i was thinking, “oh dad. not now. what are you doing? we don’t have time for this.” you see, he can (and does) talk to anyone and everyone. and i was a little embarrassed. or uncomfortable. or something. i felt fidgety. i don’t know why. but, i continued to watch as my dad went up to this dirty, handicapped, lonely-looking person. they began to talk. then my dad reached into his pocket… i knew what was coming. he pulled out some dollar bills, i have no idea how much, and gave it to the person, concluded his conversation and then came back to us as we waited for the sign to say “walk”. inside i wanted to pretend that i didn’t know him. i was irritated and confused. didn’t my dad know that to give money to a random person meant that they’d most likely use it for drugs or booze? you can’t trust people, i thought. and my dad was being naive and overly generous. ugh. i was a 20-something year old adult and i still was embarrassed by my dad.
but then something happened in me…suddenly i got it. and my embarrassment immediately turned to pride. i realized that my dad was different from other people, and that was a good thing. if only we had more people who were willing to chat with anyone, to share their time and even their money with anyone. no questions asked. he wants everyone, especially his family, to have everything they need and to feel loved. my dad had always been great, in my opinion. but in that instant, my dad became one of my heroes. and ever since that day i have tried to treat strangers as friends, i have tried not to ask questions, to just be generous and kind. like my dad, i don’t care what people think, if i’m naive, so be it. but everybody deserves to be treated as an equal. everybody deserves a second chance, or to feel some hope, or to just be seen and heard. and if i have something – money, time, whatever, why shouldn’t i share it? that i learned from my dad.
happy father’s day, dad!
peace & love.