This is a true story about something that happened to me a few months ago. Afterwards, I could not get the incident out of my mind. So I did what was most natural. I wrote about it. Then I forgot about it as life got busy, but I stumbled across it again and decided to share it here on my blog. Perhaps you will enjoy it, or perhaps it will make you think. Either way, here it is.
The promise of a Pizza
I noticed the woman holding a sign. I only saw it for a few seconds, as I drove past in my mom’s old mini van, but it was enough to put an idea in my mind. And make me immediately loop around and head for the pizza store.
It was cardboard, not very big, and on it was written with sharpie:
Homeless. God Bless.
I pulled into the pizza parking lot, my heart pumping slightly. As I turned off the van, I was remembering the face of the person holding the sign. She was middle-aged and had a soft, wrinkled face. She looked kind, and a bit lonely, standing in her winter clothes in front of her little green car, parked in the parking lot next to a busy intersection. She wasn’t even exactly begging, just had a sign that let you know she could use some help.
The moment I saw her, I wanted to help her. This was a perfect opportunity; I had no one with me to say something against it, I had nowhere to be, and I was Christmas shopping so I had plenty of money. And what better Christmas present was there then pizza to make her feel better? It was more friendly than feeling-less cash.
I was thinking about all this as I came out with the five dollar pizza. I imagined myself parking next to her in the Burger King parking lot, and saying, “Would you like to share a pizza?” as I gave her the box. Maybe I could talk to her some, give her a minute or two of company, and I’d have a piece of pizza too, since I was rather hungry.
My heart was fluttering in anticipation, but I decided to let the pizza cool a bit first. The next couple minutes seemed to pass at once fast and slow, as I tried to read my book some, but found it hard to concentrate.
When I at last I drove away, I was smiling and my eyes searched for the woman. I wanted to help, I was excited to help, I didn’t care about anything else at that moment but getting the pizza to the homeless lady. But my excitement bled out, and the corners of my mouth dropped as I slowly realized she was no longer there. I circled around the parking lot and scanned the other buildings, but she was nowhere to be seen.
She was gone, and I was left with the gift I had bought for her.
I had other errands to run, so I left and turned onto the main road. However, it did nothing to change the somber, and sad feeling sitting at the pit of my stomach. I felt a little bit guilty whenever I glanced at the pizza box sitting in the passenger seat. It didn’t seem right, me still having the pizza that I had so wanted to give to her. But there it was, and I was hungry. So with a frown of regret, I picked up a piece of pizza and kept on driving.