I am helping TheMonk get out of his car seat in a crowded parking lot. Lovely wife is helping Swee’Pea and I know I will have to also get GirlyGirl out of her car seat momentarily. I am always a bit nervous with the kids in a parking lot and I am focused on getting everyone out safely on into IKEA as quickly and safely as possible.
“Excuse me, Sir.” A voice beckons from the rear of our SUV. “I am hungry and I was wondering if you could spare any money.”
I look over and see a young man with dirty clothes, looking at me. Our eyes meet and I can see the look of hunger in his eyes. Often, I question the authenticity of these types of requests. Particularly from someone who is young and seemingly free of physical disabilities. But on this day, I think differently. I think differently because, for the first time, TheMonk is at my side. I can feel his little eyes taking in the situation as I pull out my wallet and hand the young man a $1 bill. “Good luck.” I say, because I can’t think of anything else that seems appropriate. “Thank you.” he says, taking the bill and stuffing it into his pocket. He wanders away, looking for others who may hear his plea.
I instinctively reach for TheMonk’s hand. Finally, TheMonk speaks. “Daddy, why did he ask you for money?”
I look quickly into his eyes and I see concern etched with confusion. “He asked me for money, Monkey, because he was hungry and needed money to buy food.”
“And why did you give it to him?” he asks.
“I gave it to him, Bud, because we are very fortunate to have the things we do and if I can help someone else who isn’t as fortunate, then I will help.”
TheMonk takes this in. He takes my hand and walks over to his mother while I go to get GirlyGirl out of the car.
The moment is over. But I hope the lesson stays.