I wrote this post over a month ago and for whatever reason, it never got posted. I'd rather it not just go to waste, so I am posting it now :)
Since Mondays are basically the only day of the week that I have any free time after 3pm, I had a long list of things that I wanted to get done. FINALLY I got my paycheck from work (since my boss had been in the hospital for 15 previous days with no one having a clue how to run/manage her business) so I quickly went to pick that up and decided to head to Festival to get a few groceries for the next 2 weeks before Spring Break. There is a stoplight near Festival where quite often I have seen a man who holds cardboard signs saying things like "Cold, could use extra sleeping bag" or "Need work", or something like this. I am not for certain if he is completely homeless, but my gut tells me so. Yesterday I saw him with a sign that said several things, but the only thing that I could read said "Hungry". I wondered how many people were driving past trying to avoid looking at him or simply pretending he wasn't there. So I decided that I would pick some things up while I was getting my few groceries and give him a small meal on my way back home.
Originally I thought I would just buy some kind of pre-made deli sandwich, but then once I was in the store I got way more into this good deed of the day than I had previously planned. Festival has a really nice deli and a sort of "buffet" section with hot meals and soups that you can put in to-go boxes and pay for at the checkout. So I start looking through the options and began critically thinking about what would be the best types of food to eat without a table or easiest with just plastic silverware. I mounded up a huge section of mac & cheese with ham and three chicken strips. On my way to the silverware I saw peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie treats, so I grabbed one of those, too. At the checkout, I bought a bottled water and an extra apple. I put it all together in its own bag separate from the other stuff I bought. I got in my car and headed back towards the stoplight. As I got closer I saw the light turn red and I quickly unbuckled so that I could do a fast "Chinese Fire Drill" type action once I got up there. I saw a guy standing at the light, but when I got there it wasn't the same guy, just some pedestrian waiting to cross the street. I thought "Dang it! He couldn't have gone far!" I mean, he had a whole bundle of things with him like sleeping bags and his cardboard signs and I'm sure some backpack or something so I started looking down the streets to the left and the right, but he was no where to be seen. For a minute, I considered driving around the blocks until I found him, but then I looked at my already empty gas tank, thought about the rest of the things that I had to get done in just a few hours, and reluctantly decided that the moment had passed. I am a terrible human who bailed on following through with a good deed.
Thinking about it now, I wish I would have just done a quick loop around a couple blocks to find him, but it is just so easy to let these kinds of things affect us for just a moment before we turn back to focusing on our own lives and personal dilemmas. A lot of people use the phrase "Well, it's the thought that counts" which could easily apply to this situation. Why do we even say that? It's not because we actually believe the thought really counts. It's to make ourselves feel less selfish or guilty when we didn't follow through with something. The only things that really count are the actions you do that have real, positive change or effect on others and the world.