Kindness Is The Easiest Kind Of Charity

"I got you a little something for your last day."

It was my last day working at the local library: I had worked at the circulation desk for about a year year-and-a-half. I loved the job but I needed some more hours and more income, so I was transferring from our smaller branch to the main library. I didn't tell any of our patrons, although most of them were very kind. But my gift giver was a homeless patron who came in every day. I called him Smokey because he reminded me of Smokey The Bear: friendly, protective, and warm. As I straightened the magazines on their racks, I told him it was my last day and it was really nice to meet him. He froze in his tracks.

"What do you mean today is your last day?" I told him I was transferring over to the main branch, but I'd miss him. He asked me what time I was leaving, and I told him. He nodded and walked out of the library, not turning around.

About five minutes before I left, Smokey came in.

"Here," he said, and handed me a plastic bag. Inside was an apple pie from the neighborhood grocery store. Every night before closing, the store gave their extra baked goods to the town's homeless population. But this was late afternoon, not closing time. And the store was a couple of miles away.

He saw my shocked face, and he said: "I told the manager it was for a friend I'd probably never see again, and he let me have it."

I could only nod and say thank you. I had no words.

And so my family and I had apple pie for dessert that evening. And Smokey was right: I never saw him again. But I still think about him and his beautiful act of charity; and to hope that wherever he is, he's ok.

Grape, Wild / Charity

This post is part of a Blogging A To Z series where I write a new, personal story almost every day (except Sundays).

photos: West Virginia Forestry Department & Unsplash & The Odyssey Online