My co-worker Kyle and I went down to the "hill" to walk around and do some exploring. It was a busy summer day in mid June. Why I thought this would be a good idea on a day when I had on my most uncomfortable pointy shoes, I don't know. Strangely, I didn't stick out in the uncomfortable suited crowd.
As we were walking back to the metro station after lunch, I noticed a man near the entrance who did stick out. When I remember him now, I see him standing there, the color of ash. His gray hair and ragged beard matched perfectly his sooty gray clothes. He was reaching out desperately to people in the crowd. I could hear him say "I just need a little money for a ticket."
I was so excited. I was finally getting my chance to share. I reached into my purse and pulled out a huge handful of quarters and dimes and eagerly handed it to him. But, before I could say anything, I was carried by the rush of people getting onto the escalator. I was sad that I hadn't had a chance to do more, but God turned it into a victory anyway.
"Wow, that was nice." Kyle said, stunned. We started talking about how he had sort of "tuned-out" people like that. I shared my stories about how I used to be that way too but that I had decided to do things differently now. As we were talking and before we reached the bottom of the escalator, Kyle stopped mid-sentence and, looking off beyond me, said "Oh my gosh. He's buying a ticket!" He couldn't believe it. Kyle was so surprised that the man's story was actually true he could say nothing more than "hunh?" to himself a couple of times as he watched the man buy his ticket and board the train.
I could tell the whole experience had given him something to think about that he hadn't considered before. And I like to think that maybe, just maybe, the next time someone asks-- he'll give it a try too.