This article was last updated on October 17
In this blog I mainly write about topics related to saving, making and spending money. But I don’t write often enough about giving away money. Especially to people less fortunate than most.
This was highlighted to me recently when I was at a downtown 7-Eleven where a number of people were in line, including me, to pay for their purchases. Also in this line was an elderly woman who was fishing around her bag trying to find a few dollars to pay for her groceries. She was getting hassled and telling people to just go ahead of her because she couldn’t find any money. A young lady at the front of the line saw this going on and as soon as she made her purchase of a small coffee (probably around $2) she turned to the cashier and asked how much the elderly lady’s billl was. The cashier said around $19. She promptly took out a $20 bill from her wallet and gave it to the cashier and said please use this to pay for the groceries. All of us in the line observed this exchange and were a bit startled at the magnanimity of the lady’s gesture. It was so unexpected and so spontaneous that even the most cynical person would have been touched.
The young lady then quickly walked out of the store without a backward glance or looking for any gesture of approval or for trying to take credit for what she just did. The cashier turned to the elderly lady and said ma’am don’t worry about paying, that lady just took care of your bill. The elderly lady looked up in disbelief at what was just said and asked which lady, clearly as surprised at the turn of events as we all were. The cashier repeated, “the lady that just left the front door.” The elderly lady muttered some woods under breath which I think went something like, “thank god for angels.”
It took me a few seconds to process what had just happened and to be honest my first reaction was guilt. Why didn’t I think of paying the bill for someone who clearly needed to get basic groceries more than I did my bag of chips and bottle of coke zero? But then I felt an overwhelming sense of “wow!” There really are unselfish people in the world and if I can feel so touched about seeing a stranger help a fellow human being then how would it feel to do it myself.
So over the next few weeks my goal is to randomly and anonymously help someone less fortunate than myself. It may sound like a cliche, but even if I help one person then I have made a difference. And I want to do it with no strings attached. That young lady who I will likely never meet again inspired me to write this post. With over 100,000 readers a month visiting this site I hope this article can inspire just a few of these readers to help someone in a small way and make a real difference. If you do, please share your story in the comments below