Posts tagged ‘drifter’

February 10, 2016

Close your eyes…

Last week it was. I was heading towards my training. While I was fighting my personal demons, I looked out of the window of the bus. A confused man was trying to get some attention from an elderly woman who was waiting for her bus. It was clear he just needed some attention. The loneliness radiated from his posture. He was tired and desperate. Trust me. In general, a (hu)man who asks for help, in these conditions, really needs it! It takes a lot of courage and desperation to accept that you can’t do it alone.

The woman went through different stages. First she tried to ignore the situation. Then she tried harder to ignore the situation. Then there was a brief contact between them which indicated she tried to get rid of the situation and then she ignored the situation. When none of this helped, she stood up and walked away.

The effort made by this woman, to ignore the situation and eventually to remove herself from the situation hit me like a lantern post can hit your head when you are looking the other way. It ripped something in my heart and I could not think of anything else then to get off the bus as soon as possible. I went to sit at that same spot the old lady had been sitting. I just sat there and looked up to the man. “Are you okay?” –“Not at all”.

Our conversation did not take long. I convinced him to sit next to me and just listened to him for a bit. He dozed off several times and though I was sincerely concerned about his health, all I could do for him at that moment, was just sit there with him, waiting for his bus. He argued how people never stop to disappoint and never care. I understood this statement and I felt ashamed. This is what humanity comes down to all too often. His bus arrived and he said a brief goodbye. I offered him something to munch on and he left. As he entered the bus he turned around and waved. There was a hint of a grateful smile on his face and he radiated just that little spark of energy that hopefully would get him to his next destination. I hope he is okay. I hope he will be okay.

It took me 10 minutes. 10 minutes! It did not cost me anything. I was not in danger. I do not feel superior now. I do not share this story with you to get compliments on how fantastic I am and how well I spent these 10 minutes. I do not feel better than that woman who walked away. I understand the wish to close our eyes. The world can be cruel and this cruelty hurts. It is easier to walk away. All I am, is disappointed and outraged. Outraged about the disability of so many people to (wo)man up and stand our ground. It just takes 10 minutes, or less, to give someone the feeling that he or she matters. That he or she is a human, just as valuable as the rest of us. It takes a friendly hello. It takes a cup of coffee or a handshake.

It takes being silent and just sitting with someone.

August 10, 2014

10 days for a better world – day 1

Most of you have read my blog ‘You can do it too!’. Thank you for that! I know of a lot of people who shared, re-blogged, or wrote blogs about it too, which is awesome! And since I asked you to let me know about your experiences during those 10 days of unselfish acts to better the world, of course I will share mine as well.

Yesterday I started my first day of this challenge and it was a good day. I chatted with people about how to create more respect for each other and for different points of view, which was very inspiring. But it was not an act that fitted my idea of unselfish acts, so I figured out what I would do for the day.

My planning for the day consisted of doing an interview with Catherine Moon, then go grocery shopping and go to the cinema later that evening. Now I know that close to the cinema I love to go to is a drifter. He is always there when I go to the cinema, providing (free) news papers to the drivers and trying to collect some money and so. It is a guy that is always positive and smiling, and always very grateful. I don’t know his story, and I don’t know what his life looks like. To be honest, I don’t know the guy besides those few seconds a time at the traffic light. I figured I would give him a little present. A goodie bag with food and items for personal hygiene.

So there I went, of to the supermarket. As I was riding my bike there, all of the sudden a dog crossed the street. I almost ran over it. I was happy I was by bike, because if it would’ve been a car, the dog would definitely be injured very bad. There was no owner of the dog around so a grandma and her grandson and me started to find the owner and we returned the dog. The grandma reprimanded the owner in a gentle way, that he should be careful for his dog and I was on my way to the supermarket again.

IMAG0254I put all the items in an old rucksack I had lying around and added a book, paper and a pen to it, and some fresh orange juice, as well as some other small items. I also wrote him a little card, saying that this was all especially for him. The back was quite heavy. I managed to put together a pretty okay set of items for my ‘victim’ for today and as I headed towards the cinema, I was hoping he would actually be there. And of course he was. I dropped off the bag. Since this wasn’t about me, I did not want to stay there too long. It was about him. He was so thankful though he did not even know what was in the back yet. As I continued my trip, he walked away with the bag, probably to check out what he had gotten.

As I walked to the cinema I felt weird. Normally when you do something you weight for the ‘victim’ to thank you, to show their gratitude, but I hardly gave the man time for this. I did not want it. I would have preferred to do it completely anonymous, because, like I said, this isn’t about me. By giving this man a little bag filled with basic items, he gained a spot in my heart and in my memories and though I do not know anything about this man, I will always remember him.