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Spare Change, Spare Time

I never keep lots of cash on me as it seems to slip through my fingers like water. Instead, I keep one or two dollar bills in my wallet. When I come upon a person who appears to be down and out, they usually have a sign that says, "Down & Out, please help," I will go up to that person and offer them what I have. Perhaps he or she is a veteran, or someone who has lost their way, or, perhaps, even an angel. It is not for me to judge. It is my job to care.

Lately, I have been handing my bills over, making sure I place them palm to palm, thereby touching the other person. It may be only a light brush but it is a touch nonetheless. It may be the first time in years he or she has felt human contact that is both kind and gentle.

Often, I ask their names. There has never been a hesitation in their responses. A first name quickly tumbles out as if they have been waiting too long for someone to care enough to ask. I also give them my first name. If you do ask for a name, there is a good chance you are going to end up in a conversation. If you don't have the time, simply hand them the cash and omit the name-game, give them a God Bless, and move on.

I am retired. I have the time for conversation. Every person I have had conversations with has a story to tell. Some are veterans who are dealing with past demons. Some are on the streets due to really bad choices. And some have a tell-all novel of government conspiracies, satellite mind-bending rays, and aliens who control social media. Once I stood and listened to the latter for 20 minutes. Like I said, I'm retired. It was fascinating just listening to the "facts" presented to me. Eventually, they say all they need to say and we end our time, together, on a positive note. Perhaps those precious minutes can make a difference in one person's life. That thought makes me hopeful for them and happy for me.

You don't have to seek out a homeless, or displaced, person on the street. You have neighbors around you who can use a smile, a kind word, or a touch. And, if you are retired, you can allow time for conversation.

You would be amazed at what you might learn...hopefully not about aliens.

A scatter of paper money with a dollar bill lying on top

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May 19
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very touching

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