We were leaving the movie theatre with the girls and just outside the door was a fellow, sitting on the ground, bundled up against the cold. He had a sign that simply said, “Please help, I am hungry.” In front of him he had placed a small receptacle for people to toss change in. I rolled over to him and Sadie, knowing I was about to get a Tims card out, said, “I want to give it to him!!” He watched this and you could see amusement touch at the corner of his eyes. It changed his face dramatically.

He spoke to Sadie, his voice was softer than I expected it to be, and asked her how her day was going. Sadie heard the question but didn’t answer. She was waiting for the card. She was focused on getting the card and giving it to him. I said, “Sadie, you were asked a question,” she turned to him immediately and said that her day was going good. Now, when we’re on the telephone with Sadie, that’s pretty much the end of a conversation about how school went, how skiing went, how the weekend was going. To Sadie, that answer is quite fulsome and descriptive. But, she read the interest in this stranger’s face and continued on talking about the movie we’d just seen and how good it was.

Then, the card was out of my wallet and I handed it over to her to give to him. I started to remind her what information he needed about the card and she put her hand up to stop me. She knew the drill. She told him what it was and how much money was on the card and she added, “You can sit and be warm too.”

We were about to leave when he said, “Thank you for the card, I will get a coffee or a hot chocolate later today. But thank you even more for spending a few minutes talking to me, that mattered even more.” As we pulled away, I heard him say, to no one there, “I have a little girl your age too.” When we turned to go north I looked back and his head was down and it looked as though he was crying.

Every one of us has a story, is on a journey, and seeing someone simply in the now is an injustice of larger proportions than I think I ever understood before.