Gratitude

Homeless Man
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An old man is on the streets. To many, the pleas and begging are an annoyance, something to ignore and avoid. Most cannot even look at the dull gray eyes or the long strands of gray and white that frame the sunken cheek bones and the weathered face. His voice is a little coarse, but it’s better after the cup of coffee he had at 3AM when it was the coldest. A young Hispanic couple walk by him. The father, pushing his newborn’s carriage, nearly runs into the old man and exclaims “Pendejo!”. The wife takes several steps past the man but slows to a pause. She digs into her purse and drops in a handful of change, much to his surprise. In an instant, his eyes glimmer to life. He is happy. As the woman jogs to catch up to her husband, the old man’s shoulders rise with a fresh breath of hope. His lips curl into an unfamiliar smile. He exclaims his thanks to her with deep gratitude and sincerity, “God bless you!”. He is truly grateful. The same way a player feels the pressure of dying in an arcade game dissipate after dropping in a couple more quarters, this old man is relieved that his stay on earth has just been extended.