Service and Change

“Service and Change,” New Era, Feb. 2009, 45

Service and Change

One day while running some errands, I saw a homeless man in front of the bank. I had seen him there before, and I had always tried to make sure that I smiled and said hello. Although I didn’t usually give him money, I wanted him to know that I’m not trying to avoid him and that I recognized him as a real person. When I got out of the car, I went to put change in the meter, but all I had was a “loonie” (Canadian dollar coin) and a bunch of pennies.

As I stood there and pushed the pennies around, making sure there wasn’t a nickel or dime, I heard the homeless man ask, “Do you have change?”

I told him I didn’t, not even for the meter. Then he surprised me by saying, “Oh, here. I’m sure I have a dime for you.”

I had just tried to shake off this homeless man because I didn’t have any change for him, and then he handed me a dime. But his gift was more than monetary. He also gave me a change of heart. His simple act was charity and service in its truest form. A homeless man begging for change gave his change to someone who needed it more at the moment. I thanked him and then, even though he wasn’t expecting it, gave him my loonie.