An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scofted. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 60 and Day 62- Gum and a Phone Call

On a daily basis we are given the opportunity to help and give gifts to others. It is the choices we constantly make to either ignore those opportunities or take advantage of the situation to help someone in need.  My gifts for Day 60 and Day 62 both occurred while I was traveling to Minnesota.
My first opportunity to give came on my flight to Minneapolis.  As the plane started its decent I noticed the young gentleman (probably 10-12 years old) across the aisle was holding his ears and he seemed to be in great deal of pain.  His father flagged down a flight attendant asking what he should do.  The flight attendant yells, “Does anyone have any gum?”  As I started digging through my backpack searching for gum I looked around to the other passengers to see if they were looking also. I was disappointed, but not surprised no one else seemed to care. I found and handed the flight attendant a pack of gum. She smiled and the father nodded his head and said, “Gracias.”   He spoke very little English but seemed very grateful.  His son started to chew gum and by his facial expression it appeared his ears popped and were feeling much better.
On Day 62 as I was waiting at Midway Airport for the bus back to Indiana I noticed the lady sitting next to me was on the phone but having trouble communicating with the person on the other end.  After she hung up the phone she started to ask me questions, but I couldn’t understand a word she was saying, I was frustrated that we didn’t speak the same language.  Her phone then rang again, she answered it and without saying a word to me just handed me the phone!  I was a bit shocked, but smiled and said, “Hello?”  The gentleman on the other end spoke very broken English, but I could make out bits and pieces of the conversation and one thing was very clear, he was at O’Hare Airport looking for the lady next to me when he should have been at Midway Airport.  I tried to explain to him he was at the wrong airport and if he made his way to Midway he would need to go to arrivals and his friend would be waiting at Door #4.  I had to get on my bus before the lady was picked up so I hope she made it where she was going safely.
I liked these gifts because they weren’t part of my plan and I didn’t go searching for a way to help someone. But when the opportunity presented itself I choose to help instead of ignore the situation hoping it would go away. I hope the next time you are presented with an opportunity to help a stranger you choose to step out of your comfort zone and lend a hand.

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