I don’t often go downtown on the way to work these days, but I had an errand to do this morning. On my way to catch the bus, I passed a young man sleeping at the entrance to the pedestrian underpass in the center of town. He had propped up a sign behind a cup for donations, but I didn’t stop to read it. I noticed that he was lucky to have a thick sleeping bag and a full backpack and duffle bag. Probably a tourist, I thought, but still it was near freezing last night and he didn’t have a warm place to stay.
I had some fruit in my bag, so I pulled out two mandarin oranges and doubled back. As I got closer I saw that others had also left him something for breakfast, on top of the backpack hidden behind the sign–an apple, a strawberry Linzer tart and something from the bakery.
As I placed my two oranges on the backpack and turned to go, something strange happened: I felt tears starting to well up in my eyes. I don’t know why, because I wasn’t thinking anything in particular, but something about having placed two oranges beside this sleeping man stirred something inside me.