On my way to Saturday school yesterday morning, I stopped in at Starbucks for an overly-priced, yet delicious hazelnut soy latte. (I'm one of those annoying people who orders the frou frou coffee. And I LIKE IT.)
In line in front of me, a man in a thread-bare coat was counting out change in nickels and pennies for his coffee. I noticed his old, ragged shoes and 3-day grown-in beard. This wasn't the first time I'd seen a poor person at Starbucks. Hey, if I were homeless, I'd spend those hand-outs on good coffee, too.
I thought for a second about saying, "Sir, may I buy your coffee this morning?" but it seemed a little too stuffy and indiscreet. The register next to him opened and I walked up to it, so that I was standing next to the man. I ordered my coffee and opened my wallet to get out my credit card. Usually I don't have any cash on hand, but for some reason I had a spare dollar bill. I reached in and took out the dollar bill, smiling and handing it casually to the poor man. He gave me a puzzled look, but took the money and put it in his pocket. I paid for my coffee, and ran in to use the restroom since I had a spare minute.
I was feeling good. Maybe it was a strange place to give to the poor, but the point is, I did it. Face it, plenty of people think about giving, but they don't act on it.
On my way out, I grabbed my coffee, and as I walked out the door, I saw the man walking out in front of me. He walked over to his Chevy SUV, got in, and started the engine. I slinked over to my car, got in, and hoped that I might never have to meet the man who wasn't homeless again face to face.