Today’s random act of kindness happened kind of serendipitously. It all started while I was at work dropping off used batteries into the recycling bin near the admin of another team. She smiled at me, thanked me for recycling, and gave me a candy cane which was left over from the Christmas season. I stuffed it in my jacket pocket and forgot about it until about 7pm when I was back in Boston walking home from Trader Joes. That particular walk up Boylston Street usually involves being confronted (read: mildly harassed) by homeless people for money. Without fail, walking up Boylston Street after work will result in someone shaking a tin can at you for money. The homeless guys who are funny and try to tell jokes seem to do better than everyone else. Some of them are actually hysterically funny.
Today in particular I had been trying to think of something kind to do but nothing really popped up as the day went along. I thought about giving money to one of the homeless people but I don’t feel great about doing that because who knows what they’ll do with that money. Not only does it not fix the problem, it can often perpetuate the problem. This is why on Day 10 I asked the homeless guy outside CVS if he wanted some food instead of me giving him money (he asked for a coke but that’s besides the point). So this time one of the funnier guys locked eyes with me (rookie mistake on my part) and asked for some spare change. I then realized that I had to respond, you can’t just lock eyes with someone and then not say anything. That’s when I remembered the candy cane in my pocket so I said, “Hey, I don’t have any change, but would you like a candy cane instead?” He said, “Hell yeah brother, thank you very much, thank you very much, God bless you.” It was a fleeting moment because I kept walking to my destination after I dropped the candy cane in his tin cup.
Part of me wanted to stay and talk with him to figure out his story but the part of me that kept walking felt fine with simply doing something nice for him and then moving on without making a big deal about it. Hopefully he was pleasantly surprised by the random act of kindness. I’m sure it’s not something he sees every day but who doesn’t want to randomly get a candy cane? If I were homeless and begging for money, I would be stoked if someone came by and dropped a candy cane in my jar.