If you know me personally, then you know that I like to talk. I talk to everyone, from the cashier at the local convenience store to the car guard that assists me to my car. A warm hello to someone might not mean much to you but to them it might be everything. They become seen!! Which brings me to my next story, GIFT
Gift was my favourite beggar. Yes!! I have a favourite beggar. Every day he would be at the four way intersection begging. He was someone you would very easily not see. Most days he was dirty & messy but GIFT has this gentle, kind, sincere and funny spirit that I took a liking to. He would be there everyday until late evening & I am sure that just as he became apart of our daily life, so too did we.
I would keep small change for him, so that I knew that he would at least have something to eat that day. He would call me MA, very respectfully and wave at the kids in the car. He walked with a limp, most likely an injury that he got from begging. He wouldn’t expect anything and accepted everything I gave with a joyful smile & no matter what, he always blessed me.
The kids and I would giggle as we approached GIFT’s robot watching him. He would in the front begging but as he would see us, he would wobble to us briskly, trying not to miss us. There was 1 day that he wobbled across the intersection, almost galloping!! It was the funniest thing ever but I warned him not to do that as he would get hurt. Another day, he caught a snake & most likely kept it just for me. He came to my window and said, Ma, you like this?? Freaking me out totally and making us all burst into stitches. I always gave him no more than R5 and if he used it for the shelter or a haircut, he would proudly say so.
One day a family member asked me, “How can you give him money, what if he is taking drugs?” The truth is that I don’t know if he was but I never saw him in an induced state. I told her that, he didn’t choose this life and that life most likely brought him here. He has no home and no food but if I can give him just a few moments of kindness then that’s a gift to him. It gives him hope that there is still kindness out there.
We tell our children that they must be kind to others without showing them how to be kind. Children learn from example and action. These few moments with Gift gave us was so much more than the few Rands we gave him. I have thought my children empathy and we have funny stories to chat about.
What did GIFT get from us? A few rays of HOPE.
We stopped seeing GIFT this year. We often talk about him and without fail, every time I drive past his intersection, I think of him. He was dirty, stinky & smelly but his spirit and joy despite his circumstance is something that will stay with me always
Let’s take a moment to appreciate everything we have in life for there is always someone who wishes they have what we do!!
Rest in Peace GIFT