Monday, April 23, 2012

A bag of apples

I hope that every once in awhile, I can post something that's actually meaningful to at least one person besides myself. So today I have a little story to share.

Last fall, we went to downtown Salt Lake for a niece's wedding. Anyone who lives around here or who has visited Temple Square before knows that there are always panhandlers sitting or standing around the perimeter. They are on the sidewalks, usually with some kind of sign asking for help. Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable passing by, but they usually don't harass anyone.

We typically don't hand cash to anyone, partly because there isn't always much to share, but we do give fast offerings once a month in church. This money is used to help others and funds the church's welfare system, so we have felt okay about that.

On this particular day downtown, as we waited to cross the street to where we would pass the panhandlers who were waiting there, a young man came along who was also going to cross the street. I noticed that he had a bag of apples in his hand, much like the one above. The bag had 6-8 good sized apples inside of it.

We crossed the street, and the young man with the apples crossed ahead of us. He had piqued my interest with his apples, so I watched him. He went straight up to one of the panhandlers and said, "I'm sorry that I have no money to give you, but I would like to give you an apple." The recipient of the apple looked a little surprised, but took it and said, "Thank you." As we passed, I could hear the young man go up to another of the panhandlers and repeat his gift of an apple, with the same thanks. This young man had obviously prepared to give an apple to at least half a dozen panhandlers that day.

I was impressed by this. I found myself thinking, "Now, why couldn't I have thought ahead like that young man and had some apples to offer?" I actually had a tree full of apples at home just waiting to be picked. The gift of an apple was a simple thing, but it appeared to mean a lot to the people who received one. What an example that young man set for me.

A bag of apples. I won't ever forget it.

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