Last weekend, the kids and I decided to do some Christmas baking. Before we could start, we had to run to our local grocery store to grab a few ingredients. As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed a man sitting on the edge of the sidewalk close to the front door. He sat there with his dog and was looking at the ground. At first glance, he appeared unkempt and untidy. The kids voiced a few concerns as they were a bit worried about walking past him. I told them that he was fine and that he was a regular person just like all of us. We walked past and I greeted him with a friendly hello and asked him how his day was. He replied with a toothless grin! We grabbed our few groceries and got in the line to pay. The lady in front of us was in the process of buying a gift card for the man who was sitting outside. We smiled at the lady and told her how nice it was that she was buying this for this man. She purchased a $50.00 grocery card. As she was leaving, she turned back to us, gave the gift card to Anna, and told Anna that she could give it to him. This lady was doing something so kind for another person, and was not requesting any recognition for it. Anna was ecstatic that she was able to pass this on to him. We went outside, stopped where the man was sitting, and Anna proceeded to tell him that a lady had purchased this gift for him. She handed it over and the man was overjoyed! He kept saying thank you over and over again. We wished him a Merry Christmas and jumped in the van to drive home. As we pulled out of the parking lot, this lovely man, who at first glance, may not look like the loveliest man, waved until we could no longer see him. We felt so lucky that we were able to pass on a wonderful gift and to experience the happiness that this person felt.
Today, being the last day of school and noon dismissal, I took the kids out for lunch. We had finished eating and were walking outside to our van, when we saw the same man walking towards us. He recognized us right away! We stopped and chatted with him. He had just received new dentures today....he was so happy with them and showed them off proudly. He told us that his fridge had broken yesterday and that he would be going to his mother's house for Christmas dinner. Just small chit chat with a person who may not have a lot of people to talk to. We parted ways again with wishes of a Merry Christmas.
This man, who appeared a bit rough around the edges, showed us the importance of never judging a book by its cover. I have tried to teach this lesson to my children, but hopefully now, they will truly believe it and it's all thanks to a toothless man with a big heart. Merry Christmas!