Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Bought Him a Coke and Got a Smile

Yesterday ranked in my top 10 of all days; it was a day that left me with a cement smile and a wonderfully euphoric high even after only having 3 hours of sleep the night before. It began with 4 wonderfully creative hours with Randy Van Duinen and Lee Burgess, two of my photographer clients and Martin Gudz, President of the Florida Professional Photographers Association. It was an incredible day of photography magic and a ton of fun that ended with Martin being so impressed with my talents that he asked me to speak at next years photography convention. I was blown away and incredibly honored as I accepted the invitation.

When I arrived home, I kissed my kiddos and sat down to check my email. I received a message in my inbox that I had been waiting for. It revealed GREAT news about the new book which I am currently writing for photographers. This email was the game-changer of a lifetime and quite frankly... I can hardly believe it. Needless to say, the smiles and happy emotions were swirling around inside of me so strongly that it was beaming through my chest like a beacon in the night.

I quickly packed for a weekend trip to Orlando and left the house in terrific spirits. Little did I know that my quick stop at the bank would allow me to pass this feeling of joy on to someone in need, but it did. As I was waiting in the line for the drive up ATM to make my weekly after-hours deposit, I heard a man screaming angrily but could not see where it was coming from. As I turned my head around to see if I could figure it out I saw a disheveled young man... probably in his twenties frantically roaming the parking lot of the Walgreen's next door. He was randomly going up to people and as words were exchanged he would walk away shouting as he ran his hands through his sweaty hair. My initial thought was that he must be mentally disturbed and perhaps dangerous as I am sure many would have thought, but as I sat there listening to my favorite Christian radio station.. my thoughts quickly changed. After completing my transaction at the ATM, I drove towards this young man, now sitting with his head in his hands on the curb. I stopped, rolled down my window and asked if he was okay. He said, "Ma'am, I am just so hungry.... I have not had anything to eat in 3 days, and I have nowhere to stay." He was sweating profusely, as the heat outside was tremendous. I said... "I can't give you a place to stay, but what would you like to eat?" He smiled and said, if you could just get me a Coke... that would be great. I told him I would be right back.

I walked into Walgreen's and grabbed a Coke... then loaded up on various hearty snacks packed with protein such as nuts granola bars and checked out getting $10 cash back at the register. With a smile, I walked out of the store and walked right up to the young man as I said... "Nobody should go hungry, here are some snacks for you and also $10 for dinner, DON'T buy alcohol or drugs with this money do you hear me?" A smile came upon his face and a tear came to his eye as he said "Ma'am, thank you SO much, and don't worry, I will buy dinner, I promise." I looked him right in the eyes, smiled and said "you better not" and walked back to my car. A beautiful African American lady that witnessed my kind gesture looked at me as I got into my car and said... "May God bless you lady." I said back to her... "Thank you... He already has." When I looked in my rear view mirror, that young man was devouring what I bought him; and I was left with a whole new meaning to the phrase  Have a Coke and a Smile.

This is what I want you to take away....

 We have become a society that turns our back on our own people, I wonder how many people turned this guy down thinking what I had initially thought. My earlier years of struggle has not only changed who I am, it changed how I look at things and the situations of others. Maybe this guy was crazy... but if I don't eat for 8 hours I turn into a nut myself. 3 days without food? Can you EVEN imagine? I ask that you stop judging situations with a fearful eye; start looking at them with empathy and compassion and perhaps put yourself in that situation. My euphoria continued as I drove to Orlando and I felt something amazing stirring inside of me, I want you to feel that feeling too someday!

Have a GREAT weekend! It's time for me to make a bride and her maids beautiful!!!



Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Get a copy of my inspirational memoir