I came from a very wealthy family. I used to get a lot of money for Christmas, and various other holidays. Usually around $300-400 over the course of a year, in cash, starting when I was about 7. Now mind you, this money was coming from my grandparents, not my parents. My parents would hold onto the money that my grandparents gave me and put it in my wallet when we got home.
By the time I was about 13 years old, I had about $4,500 dollars in cash in my wallet. This money was collected mainly through chores and work around the house. My father never spoiled me, and usually made me work for my money, depending on the occasion. I would paint the walls sometimes or clean windows, etc.
At around that time, my father was teaching me how to become financially responsible. He would teach me about check books, jobs, how to invest money, etc.
Around a year later, when I was 14 years old, I decided I wanted to keep all my money in the bank for safe keeping (this was around Christmas time. I believe December 15th-20th). My father and I walked to the bank together, with all my cash..
I saw a homeless man, about 40 years old with a seven year old child. They looked emaciated. I was heartbroken. I thought about what my life would have been like if I was that child. All of these thoughts were running through my head; terrible thoughts. The father was wearing a brown coat with a large tear in the seams of the armpit. The boys face was filthy and he looked cut up near the forehead. They were wearing trashy pants, and were on cardboard. Unshaven, unkempt, and discombobulated. They had a shopping cart full of bottles and cans. I just stared, and stared, and stared. My father was tugging at my arm, trying to pull me along.
I’ve seen homeless men before, but this father and son, they just looked so… so innocent. The father didn’t look like those old homeless guys you see on the street. They weren’t begging for money at all, just sitting there under their rag of a blanket, and the child with his oversized jacket, trying to sleep on his fathers arm. They looked desperate, but I don’t think the father wanted to give up his pride by begging for money in the streets. So that’s where they lived, getting by day by day.
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The father was cradling his son, unsure of what would happen next in their life. He looked like he really cared. The boy looked so upset, more than any other child I’ve ever seen in my life. Their life was in ruins, it seemed.
The boys father, teary eyed and full of despair, stared straight at me, and I stared back. His eyes slowly dropped to the floor, and back to his son, petting his hair to comfort him. I just felt so terrible. To this day, I’m unsure whether the homeless man was embarrassed or just sad.
I felt like doing something. I reached into my pocket, and took out my wallet. I walked over to him and handed this man whom I have never met in my life, my life’s savings of $4,500 dollars. He just looked at me.. unsure of what to say. He opened his mouth but no words came out. He looked into the wallet, and saw 7 $100 bills at first glance.
Words can not describe the happiness on this mans face. He started crying, literally. Tears rolling down his face. This homeless man.. he leaps up, and runs over to me, and hugs me, then my father. The homeless man was thanking my father for raising me so well, and being such a wonderful role model.
The boy was sitting there still, just staring at us without emotion. Again, I’m not sure if he understood what was going on.
He was so happy, and I knew I changed this mans life completely, maybe even saved it. He asked me what my name was, and I told him. He just repeated my name twice under his breath in a way to try and memorize it. He asked me where I lived, and I just looked at my father, unsure of what to say. He was just standing there, mouth agape. But he composed himself and shook his head slightly, meaning no. So I told the homeless man, “don’t worry about it, just use the money wisely.”
It felt weird giving away all my money, and it was difficult, but now that I’m all grown up, I finally understand that it was worth every penny.