For years I regularly purchased Tim Horton cards for handouts. Recently, I discovered the Subway and found I could get a 12″ Sub for six dollars. Everything was fresh, crisp lettuce and a good choice of subs.
As I stood waiting to be waited on a lady was bargaining with the person behind the counter to be sure her sub would not cost more than six dollars. In my mind I asked myself, is this lady poor or just frugal? The waiter made up her sub and set it down by the cash register. The other waiter had the register tied up ringing my Subway cards through.
I felt badly that the lady had to wait till I finished and as I glanced at her feet I noticed she had on a rubber type of shoes and they were cracked. In my mind, that settled the question of whether she was poor or not. I wondered how I could help her without risking embarrassing her. Of course, as Vincentians, we learn that when we want to do good the Holy Spirit is in our corner helping out.
When the clerk finally finished ringing in my Subway cards I seized the opportunity and said; “Since we kept this lady waiting so long the least I can do is pay for her Sub” the lady quickly turned to me and said; “Thank you so much, you don’t know how much this means to me. Do you mind if I give you a hug?” to which I replied; “Sure, at 72 I don’t turn down hugs”.
The lady went on to explain that she gathered her money up and had just enough to buy a sub to take to her daughter for lunch at school since she had nothing to give her for breakfast. The school was about four blocks away and she was walking.
As I left, my mind was filled with mixed emotions of sadness and joy. Joy because I had an opportunity to help this lady who was so intent on getting something for her daughter for lunch.
Sadness, that in this day and age there are so many impoverished people just like this lady.
My parting words to this lady were; “our daughter is lucky to have as caring a mother as you”
And to the Lord I silently said; “thank you for giving me the opportunity and privilege to help”
William Graham, President
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Peel North Particular Council