Leap Year Lesson #192: You Can Make Someone Else Happy Today

Posted: July 14, 2012 in Giving
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday my team from work walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch.  As we went past the convention center in downtown Louisville, a homeless man was in the middle of the sidewalk holding a small, handwritten sign on cardboard in front of passersby.  The sign read “happiness is a cheeseburger.”  We don’t normally carry cheeseburgers with us to hand out, and we weren’t inclined to stop and give him money, either.  As we walked by and discussed the sign, our manager – Lewis – said he would be glad to buy an extra cheeseburger where we were going to eat and give it to the guy on our way back to the office.

We enjoyed our lunch together and then started the walk back, eager to see if the man was still there.  Lewis had the extra cheeseburger in a bag ready to give him, but the man was nowhere to be found on our path.  As we approached our office, Lewis decided to keep looking around for someone else to give it to.  Normally, you don’t have to walk very far in downtown Louisville to find someone asking for a handout.  Oddly, this time when Lewis was in search of someone, nobody was close.

So he kept walking.  Eventually, Lewis went far enough on the waterfront to find the original guy again.  When he found him, he offered him the cheeseburger and the man was very happy to get it.  Lewis even put a couple of dollars in the bag for him.

It didn’t take much to meet the needs and wishes of this unnamed person.  He just wanted a cheeseburger.  For him, “happiness is a cheeseburger.”  Any working professional walking to or from lunch yesterday could have met the guy’s needs with only the amount the giver probably spent on a fancy cup of coffee earlier in the day.  But not everyone did.

Lewis, however, did what was right and compassionate, willingly going out of his way to help the guy out.  That’s impressive to me in its simplicity and in what is says about Lewis’ character and compassion for others.  The takeaway is leap year lesson #192 – You can make someone else happy today.

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