“If you take the time to read this please know that I’m not writing this to brag on myself or to say look what I did.
I am writing this in hopes of getting someone to help another person.
We have a mason jar that we keep in the kitchen.
We put spare change in it.
The goal is to fill the jar with change and then give it to someone in need.
I ride the Metro to work in DC.
Every afternoon I see a black lady about my age sitting on a bench.
Every time I walk by she holds out a cup asking for change.
I always smile at her and look the other way.
I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t helped her.
I don’t know why I look away.
Maybe she reminds me of a hard time in my life.
When I was afraid I’d be homeless.
Maybe in her I see what could’ve happened to me.
I wish I could explain it.
I wish I could understand it.
I am ashamed of looking away.
Last week I decided I needed to do something to help her.
When I got home I saw the jar, the giving jar.
We counted the change then put it in a ziplock bag.
It was $37.
The next morning I headed out to work with the ziplock full of change in my bag.
That afternoon when I walked back to the subway there she was.
She reached out to me and asked for change.
I told her hello and that I had some change for her.
I then gave her the bag.
She started to cry, she said she was embarrassed, said thank you and asked why I gave her the money.
I told her I wanted to help her.
She told me her name is Ms. Baker, she is homeless.
She has a son but for some reason he can’t help her much.
She spends her nights in a McDonalds on Wisconsin Ave.
She told me about growing up in the projects behind the Naval yard.
At some point her life was normal.
For some reason it’s not normal now.
I saw her today.
I sat down and talked to her for a few minutes.
She said she used the money to take her son to dinner.
I asked if I could take a picture with her, she said yes.
I told her I’d see her again soon.
She gave me a big hug.
We both smiled.
I will continue to help her in anyway that I can.
Maybe if we all just found one person to help this world would be a better place.
Maybe we (me) need to stop turning away.”