*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
It's likely that at some point, you have encountered someone soliciting for money, whether it's by holding up a sign on the side of the road, playing music in the subway, or hanging around outside of shops and restaurants.
Personally, I'm not typically inclined to give money to these individuals. I don't roll down my car windows or unlock my car doors for strangers. I don't always remember to toss a few coins into charity tins, and I tend to keep walking when someone approaches me on the street.
But that changed after I met a girl.
One summer evening, I was on my way back from work, and I saw a little girl sitting at a street corner, holding a cardboard sign that read, "Hungry and Homeless." She was probably around four and still had that childish spark in her eyes. I hesitated for a moment but then decided to approach her. I asked her if she was alright, and she replied with a soft and timid voice that she hadn't eaten anything all day and I couldn't resist. I bought her a sandwich and a bottle of water from a nearby store and sat down with her to hear her story.
She told me that her mother had left her at the corner and told her to beg for money while she went to look for a job. I was heartbroken. I asked her where her mother was, and she didn't know. I then took her to a nearby police station, and after a few calls, they found her mother, who had been arrested for stealing from a store. The little girl was taken to a shelter, and her mother was given a chance to go to rehab.
All it takes is an act of kindness, I realized. I knew it made a big difference in their lives. It made me realize that sometimes, we need to put aside our fears and judgments and reach out to those in need.
I hope that little girl will have a bright future.
How would you respond if you found yourself in a similar scenario?
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