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It Happened Again - Twice!

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Dear readers, if you have been following this column for some time, you might recall couple of incidents when someone came up to me and gave me money. Well, it happened again – twice! I didn’t know then and I don’t know now why this keeps occurring, especially to me, but maybe it’s not for me to know. All I can say is that in each incident the donor comes up to my hot dog cart, says a few words, hands me the money and then turns to walk away. If I were British, I would say that I am “gobsmacked” every time this happens, but mostly I am left both speechless and stunned at the same time.

My original assumption was that these were “random acts of kindness” and I was just the lucky recipient. If it was only one or two times this happened, maybe – but I’m on my fourth encounter with the unknown at this point. My mind starts to wonder if these mysterious purveyors of charity are really angels in disguise. I have decided to let the “why” of the situations go and to be at peace with the notion that I don’t need to know why or even to understand what’s going on.

I think that most of us have given money to strangers on the street at one time or another. Each time I hand over some cash in this type of situation in the back of my mind I always think that all I am really doing furthering that person’s habit. But at the same time, I recall reading somewhere that we are supposed to “love our neighbors” and with this sentiment in mind I can be a cheerful giver. But here’s the rub – each time one of these “agents of change” gives me money I am working – and pretty heartily I might add, at my hot dog cart. Not a homeless person lying on the sidewalk, but a regular guy just trying to make a daily wage. That’s what makes these encounters so unique.

The big lesson I have learned through all of this is not only to be a humble recipient, but to be a more cheerful giver. Every dollar that has been given to me has been given back to someone in need. The exceptions are the last two donations because I haven’t been led to the right person to give to yet. And if you haven’t given someone in need a tidy sum of money lately or ever – do it. Giving on this level is transformative. It takes an ordinary moment and makes it extraordinary. It will melt the hardened heart and the event will be permanently ingrained in the memory. In that moment I feel like I am inside a joy bubble and that my heart just might burst. Just thinking about those moments while I am writing this brings me such joy and peace that I will carry with me forever.

So, friends, keep your eyes open and listen to your heart. When the moment comes when you can step in and help someone pay for their groceries or to simply help them get by for the day, take that first brave step. You will be glad you did, and it might surprise you who comes out of it with the bigger blessing.

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.