My family spent last week in downtown Washington, D.C. It was the first time my two boys had ever really been in a large city. So much beautiful architecture around. They loved to ride on the Metro. At the end of the day, their feet hurt from walking so much, seeing all the sights.
They also saw all the homeless. Some were playing music for money. Others just sat on the sidewalks in the shade, their possessions in a plastic bag beside them. While a few asked for money, most did not. Almost every morning and every night, we saw the same older gentleman sitting quietly against our hotel’s outside wall, simply holding a paper cup in his hand.
We hadn’t brought much cash with us. My boys had not brought anything – they were using mom and dad as credit. Any souvenirs they bought went on their tab, to be repaid when we returned home. My youngest was upset that he didn’t have any cash, he wanted to put money in everyone’s cups that we saw.
Sunday was our last day in D.C. In the morning, my son found a penny at the coffee shop we went to for breakfast and put it in his pocket. He carried that penny in his pocket all day long, pulling it out to check on it now and then. That night when we got back to the hotel, my son smiled and put his penny that he had saved and checked on throughout the day into the gentleman’s cup as we walked by.
Such a small gesture, but from a very big heart.
I had no idea he had such big plans for that penny. My heart swelled and I sent him back with another donation. The next morning, my son got a cup of coffee and brought it to the gentleman before we left for the airport. Sometimes our children can be our best reminder (and teacher) of lessons of thoughtfulness and love.