You probably heard the saying “Beggars can’t be choosers”, but can they?
This morning as I exited the train and was walking through the lower level of Grand Central Station I noticed that there was a man next to the ordering line at Zaro’s Bakery. It seemed he was asking people in line for something. I assumed he was asking for food.
I will stop dead in my tracks if I see someone that I think is hungry.
I approached cautiously as nowadays I cannot be sure of somebody’s mental state. I have been yelled at before.
The following exchange ensued:
Me: Can I get you something?
He seemed unsure for a second but then he said: tea with sugar
Me: Would you like something to eat?
Looking at the food cases displaying all kinds of pre-made sandwiches and other items, he said: perhaps 2 boiled eggs.
Me: That is it? What about a sandwich?
He answered: Perhaps some cheese. If I get one of those (he pointed to a wrap sandwich) it will be a waste. I don’t eat meat, lettuce, tomato, and those other stuff.
Then he added: I am homeless but I am a picky eater.
I smiled. Before I could say anything, the server, who had been waiting and listening to this exchange said: What about a grilled cheese?
He seemed thrilled with that suggestion and responded: yes I like that!
I paid for the tea, eggs and grilled cheese and gave him the change. I wished him a blessed day and walked away as he stayed and waited for his grilled cheese.
A choosy beggar made my day!
Now looking back, and perhaps if I was not one of those New Yorkers always in a hurry, I should have asked him the reason why he eats what he eats. I should have asked him his name and his story. I am always curious about how a person arrived at a certain situation. I also want them to feel that someone cares.
“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” – Kahlil Gibran