The Ripple Effect

For the past several years, I have had the habit of never passing a StreetWise vendor in downtown Chicago without slapping at least a buck into their hands. ( I should do more, given my good fortune in life–a lot more. but….). For those of you reading this who don’t know what StreetWise is, it is a weekly newspaper sold “on the street” by the under privileged to raise funds for their personal use.

At any rate, when I was bringing something up to the mail room where I work, one of the guys who works there said to me, “He really appreciates it, you know.” I had no idea what he was talking about. So, I asked him, “Who appreciates what?” He replied, “You know, the guy at the corner outside our building.” I looked at him quizzically and said, “What guy at the corner?'”  He squinted and said with exasperation, ” You know, the guy selling StreetWise. He really appreciates it.”

Oh God! I was stunned. You never know how what you say or do might affect another person. Even more important, you never know how what you FAILED to say or do, when you SHOULD have said or done something, might equally affect someone.

I learned a lot that day.

“Never stifle a generous impulse”, the philosopher wrote.

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