I had a quick errand to run today, and as I was leaving I noticed it was time to gas up the car again. We hopped over to Joe’s Travel Plaza and B ran the money in while I waited to pump the gas. While I was waiting, a rather bundled up man came scrounging around in the garbage cans. I figured he was looking for recyclables (this is a common sight in this area), but he picked through a McDonald’s bag so I wondered if he was searching for food as well?
After we filled up and got our change, I scrounged around our car to see if we had any empty cans or water bottles. We had one, which isn’t much but could be the world to this guy. So we drove over to where he was standing. I tried to apologize for only having one bottle for him, but he indicated he didn’t really speak English. I did understand that he was telling me that God had sent me, and I wished him good luck.
My intentions were to scoot through town to the highway that would take us on our errand, but I couldn’t help but think of this man. B had asked if we could sing Christmas songs, which I am more than happy to do if the right tunes are playing along! Sadly, the radio reception has been sorely lacking on the station that is all Christmas, all the time. I decided we should swing by home (since it wasn’t out of the way of where we were going) and pick up my iPod, and while we were at it we could grab the rest of our cash recyclables for that man. And hey, why not an apple too? Oh, while I’m at it, I should toss in some crackers that have peanut butter so he can get some protein, and maybe some Cheez-its because that is at the top of healthful foods we should eat (HA! OK, ok, really it’s because it was portable for the guy), and ooh, what if he has bad teeth? I’ll bring some of those tangerines. And a yogurt. Don’t forget the fork! (We are out of plastic spoons). As we headed back over to the gas station, I thought I should’ve grabbed some bandaids or something. Good thing I keep a couple of mini first-aid kits in the car.
He wasn’t were we left him. Lucky I spotted him over by the dumpsters before chasing him down through the neighborhood!
We brought him our meager gifts and expressed our love for him the best we could. Vaya con Dios-es were exchanged, and we went on our merry way.
I wanted it to be a teaching moment for B & S who were with me. I knew it wouldn’t take much for B to get, but S is still quite wrapped up in himself and I wondered if he would “get” why we did these things for this man. I took a quick second to tell them that it is important for us to take care of him because he is our brother. No, he is not in our earthly family; but he was there with us in the premortal existence, standing by our side and fighting for the Plan of Happiness that was put forth so that we might return to live with Heavenly Father after our time on Earth.
It didn’t cost any money to help my fellow man. I gathered a little of what I already had and hopefully we provided nourishment for his body and strength for his soul, because I am certain that we were an answer to his prayer.
What I got in return was more than the few things I put in the bag. I got an opportunity to teach my children about our Savior’s love for “even the least of these“.