Christmas Wishes from the Pumpkin Man!

Years ago I was the Director of Interactive Operations for the Denver Post and worked right downtown on the 16th Street Mall. I had worked there for a number of years. One day when heading out for lunch a gentleman stopped me on the street asking if I had some change for the bus. Now I was familiar with that “line” and was experienced with the homeless that sometimes pan handled on the mall. Sometimes I gave and many times I did not. I opened up my wallet and saw I only had $5 which I intended to use for my lunch and I said, “I only have a $5 bill,” which is more than he needed for his bus ride. He misinterpreted that I guess to mean that I could only give him $5 and he said, “That is okay” enthusiastically, seeing as $5 to be more than he needed. I didn’t want to disappoint the man, so I gave him the $5.

I’m not sure what happened next, but maybe it dawned on the man my original intent after I handed him the money and he said, “Where are you going?” I said, I was going to get some lunch. He said, “Let me buy you some lunch at the McDonalds.” I found his offering both surprising and intriguing so I agreed. We then proceeded to the McDonalds where he bought me a hamburger using the $5 I gave him and we sat down together and started to talk. He had just gotten out of jail and was downtown trying to get a social security card so he could get a job and actually needed money for the bus so he could get to his next destination.

Now I share this story, not because I did something good. In reality, I did not. It was more circumstance than a kind heart. If anyone was good, it was that man and not me. He taught me. In difficult circumstances HE was kind to me. I wish I had done more for him now. Because the lessons I learned from him where invaluable. As a beggar, he was dignified. And this Holiday season I have to think of the great scripture that says:

“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?”

Merry Christmas!

(Christmas 2013)

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