The Packed Meal for a Man Who Had Been “Reformed”

A movement of L-O-V-E, translated…

That afternoon, I’d just finished my courses, sat in the waiting room for the trains, seeing how there was still forty minutes of wait, my stomach started growling, and that, was when I was reminded of how I hadn’t had anything to eat for the entire day, I’d quickly gotten a packed meal by the railroad.

l   Can You Please Watch My Bags for Me?

After just taking a few bites, a middle aged man put three bags on the seat next to me, told me, in a hurried voice, that he needed to go to the restroom, asked me to look after his bags, and, I was still in a daze, and he’d left in a hurry.

I glanced over those bags, in the red and white plastic bags, there were only a few pieces of clothes.  As I’d eaten, I’d kept my eyes on the bags.  All of a sudden, I was reminded, of how in the larger stations or airports, there would be warnings to “NOT watch someone else’s bags for them, or, you’d risk being the scapegoat for dangerous items”.

As my mind wandered, I’d worried that the contents of the man’s bag might contain explosives, or drugs, and, my scalp started to grow numb.  But gladly, within ten minutes’ time, the owners of those bags returned.

As he’d come back, he’d told me thank you with gratitude.  I however, felt kinda weird, as I told him, “No problem”, and kept eating my own lunch, and I’d felt that the man was staring at me.  I became uneasy, I’d looked back, and caught his gaze.  I saw this man, with his head shaved, that there’s this scariness in his eyes on his thin face.

I’d worked up the courage, asked him, “Can I help you with anything?”

l   Can You Please Treat Him Out to a Meal

He said, “Ms., what do you think I do for a living?”

I shook my head, didn’t want to even guess.  He’d stared at me, with a focused look on his face told me, “I was once a convicted felon, can you not tell?”, after hearing him out, I was shocked and confused, not knowing what he was getting at.  I tried to remain as calm as possible, not knowing what he was getting to, “So?”

Outside of my expectations, he’d started talking to me like I’m an old friend, said that he’d been released from jail for over a week, that he’d kept meeting dead-ends hunting for a job, that he’d finally found a job at a construction site, but the owner heard that he had a previous record, and just sent him off again.  “I hadn’t had a good meal in days.”  He looked at me, “Ms. Can you spare me a meal?  The cheapest will do.”
Faced with his blunt and truthful request, I’d nodded my head without a second thought.  But I’d worried that I might damage his pride, if I handed him the money, and so, I’d gotten up, went to the counters, bought him a pack lunch.

“Thank you.” He took the lunch from me, started gulfing it down.  I went to the shops while he was focused on his meal, bought a few more bread buns and a bottle of water, and handed to him.

“It’s hard, finding a job, don’t starve, take these buns with you, and, don’t throw out the bottles, you can refill it with the water fountains at the stations”, he took the buns, quickly placed them inside of his plastic bags.  I said, “Well, best of luck then”.  I waved my hands at him, and walked into the platform.  I’d felt this surge of warmth in my heart as I alighted the trains.

A bit later, I’d told my friend of meeting him, my friend warned me that there are a TON of scam artists at the stations, told me to be careful, that they’re just using my kindness.

I smiled and told, “Maybe he was a scam artist, but you can’t fake hunger.  Helping him out for one or two meals, maybe, he’d let hope back into his life again.”

It’s been a year since, I truly hope that the man had found a steady job, and he’s living a fulfilled life after his release from prison.

And so, here is still, kindness from a stranger, and the man had asked for assistance, because he needed the assistance, and, if the woman didn’t help him out, then, he would have NO one, and, the woman did NOT regret helping this man who’d recently been released from jail, and, even IF she was tricked, she still won’t live with the thought of “if I hadn’t…”.


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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Kindness Shown, Lending a Helping Hand, Observations, Values

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