A Stranger on the Corner

This morning I was on my way to work when I saw a man with a sign looking for help. I have always wondered how anyone could stand on a corner in 100 degree heat begging for money, when instead, they could be out looking for a job. But this morning, something inside of me changed. I sat at the light and looked at that man. He had kind eyes. For what felt like an eternity, I thought about my own situation. Money has been so tight, and I barely make it between paychecks. I’m constantly looking for ways to reduce expenses, make more money, and find a way to get ahead.

Then I looked at this gentle soul standing there in the brutal heat, while I am sitting in my air-conditioned car. As low as I am on funds this particular week, I reached in my purse and found only three dollars. I pulled the money out and held it in my hand. I watched as he walked back toward the intersection with a defeated look on his face as driver after driver looked away from him in avoidance. I opened my window and called out to him.

As he approached my car, I felt this overwhelming compassion for this man about whom I knew nothing. As I handed him the money, I made a weak apology for only having a few bucks. He said, “Every dollar helps. God bless you.” Tears welled up in my eyes, and I quietly said to him, “This Too Shall Pass”.


Why I felt so much emotion at this small gesture, I am unsure. What I do know is that it gave me the most incredible feeling of joy and peace. This may seem like such a trite thing to some reading this, but I assure you, this little act of kindness did way more for me than it probably did for him.

I remember my mother always saying to me that it is better to give than receive. Honestly, those words never meant much to me. I do, however, remember the feeling I got when someone opened a present from me that I was so excited to give. But giving is so much more than picking out the perfect pair of earrings for your mother or getting those concert tickets that your daughter has been wanting so desperately. It is about the feelings the act of giving evokes within.

It is embarrassing to admit that when I held the three dollars in my hand, I momentarily thought that I needed the cash to buy a Coke Zero later. Handing that money to someone in need touched my soul, and only made me want more of that feeling.

As Maya Angelou says in the quote above, “No one has ever become poor from giving”. Today, I am simply inspired!

~ Patti Crowley


6 thoughts on “A Stranger on the Corner

  1. Patti Patti Patti (headshaking, facepalm)
    We have thousands of children going hungry in this nation and you give that money that could have fed a child to that con artist. he can stand in 100 degree weather cause his air conditioned car is a short distance away. it is documented that these people rake in a min of $400 a day.
    Next time find a charity that feeds our children

  2. I understand that dear lady. I have seen to many news documentaries that shows how these people play their roles. I was just saying, it is best to give that money you willingly handed at that moment to one of your other charities that would use it to turly help someone in need. not to someone who is only going to use it to live is a nice house tax free and nearly effortlessly

  3. Patti:
    Mike from the 10:00 morning group back in Naperville here. Been keepin’ an eye on you here since not long after you hit the road. You’re doin’ just fine. Never ever willingly give up ground you’ve already gained.

    Regardless of what the realities were of this particular incident were, fact is at that moment in time you were just as much in need spiritually as the material need that you perceived this other person to be in. Many times every day we live with illusion. We make our best guesses and check our hearts as we go. Let me ask you this. Is that just about the best 3 bucks you spent this week or what? I already know the answer.

    Force be with you always. Keep on keepin’ on. Hoping your daughter is doing well settling in at I.S.U. Kiss for you.


  4. What you did for that stranger had nothing to do with “who” he is or what he appears to be. You did not judge him the way dreamwalker did. You were not expecting anything in return, you were simply reaching out to someone in need. And, as a result, you received more than you gave. You listened to your heart, not your mind…good for you!

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