Here is a blog that Ainsley wrote. Some of you may not know her, many of you have only heard stories about this incredible woman. She is one of my closest besties, an extension of my heart on the planet, as we all are, but this woman…….Kicks some seriously Loving ass!!!! Enjoy. I cried when I heard this story…..
“…love, love, love. That is the soul of genius.” -Mozart
Two days ago, I had a profound experience of love that shook me awake from my unconscious babblings about how I am never being, having or ever doing enough. Sit tight, this one’s good.
It began as I exited off the highway, approaching a set of red lights. I hear my car shake and moan into a eerie dead silence. Oh crap, I thought. I turned off the ignition, and then back on again. A cough and then, no sound. I put the car into park, turned on the emergency lights, and said a quick prayer. Then I turned the key forward and desperately willed the car back to life. No go. A loud honk awoke me to the line-up of angry drivers behind me. Fack.
A flash of movement stirred my attention towards my sideview mirror. I turned to my left and I see a short asian man drop his tattered “i’m hungry” sign and walk towards my vehicle. He stood about five feet and two inches tall. Big round head. I rolled down the window.
“Try pumping the gas and turning it on again,” he advised in a throaty voice. I followed his instructions. No luck. He told me to get out of the car so he could try. I looked over at my purse and hesitated.
“Don’t worry, take your wallet, take your stuff, and let me try it.” I got out of the car and watched him repeat my actions, which of course made no difference. He hopped out and told me to get back in. I looked at my phone. 4% battery. I quickly called my dad and asked him to send a taxi and CAA. A sat in silent shock. I quickly sent a text, cancelling my next meeting, and then sunk back into my seat. I glanced at the rearview mirror to see the asian homeless man redirect traffic around me. The honks stopped. He came over to the window and told me we needed to push the car off to the side. I put the car in neutral and he got behind the car. I watched him through the rearview mirror, shove his whole body into the trunk, scrunching his face with might. The car pushed back against him. A driver in the car behind us got out of his car to help, and with one swift push, they moved the car onto the shoulder of the ramp. The asian man ran up to the side of the car,
“Ok, you’re going to be ok now. Put your hood on, stay in the car, and stay warm.” I looked at him blankly and followed his instructions. “Stay here, i’m going to get you a coffee.” I opened my mouth. White air.
“Uh… oh… no thank you. I’m fine.”
“Don’t worry I’m going to get you a coffee. You need to relax and calm down. I’ll get you a coffee,” he pleaded, without blinking. I stared at his yellow, half sized teeth and a flash of his hungry sign ran through my mind.
“Ok, here, let me give you some money then.”
He shifted back. “No, no, no, i don’t need your money. I have money.”
“No, please, let me. Save your money for yourself. Buy yourself a coffee.”
“No, no, I don’t need coffee today. YOU need coffee today. I have money. A man just gave me a forty dollar Tim Hortons card. I go!”
My jaw dropped and I could feel it coming. I started to cry. How could this man who has nothing want to give one of the few things he had?
“Stop crying. You stop crying,” He pointed and glared. “I go get coffee and come back.” I watched him hobble down the road. I wondered if he was an alcoholic. I remembered it was cold. It must’ve been minus 20 degress celsius. I looked out the window at the snow and slush lining the roads and walkways. And then… I cried.
When he returned he was holding a cup of coffee. “Where’s yours!?,” I almost shouted.
“Is ok, is for you,” he said as he handed me the cuppa joe. The warmth of the liquid brought feeling back to my shaking hands. He returned to redirecting traffic as I checked my text messages. My brother was on his way. I called out to the man and he sauntered back over. Who was he? And where did he come from?, I wondered. So I asked. I’m not sure how much of what he told me was true but, in short half words, he explained he was schizophrenic and was making a little money off CPP, but not enough to have a life. He panhandled every day to make that little extra money he needed. He had no home. No kids, no wife. He lived everywhere. He had a friend that looked like me that bailed him out of jail once. And then, as I snapped back into the reality of my safety, my brother showed up. The man greeted him and told him to take care of his sister, as he gathered his stuff to leave. I waved goodbye and sat in my car, still in shock at everything that had just happened. I thought, I can’t let him go without saying thanks. So I grabbed some money and followed him down the road.
“Here. Take this, but you’ve got to promise me you’ll spend it on food.”
“No, no, no, I don’t want your money. Please,” he pleaded again.
“No. Please… let me say thank you.”
He hesitated and then after a moment, he took it, said thank you, and went along his way. I walked back to my brother and sat with him in his warm car. Ahhh, the feeling of life began to return to my entire body. Then, after a short time had passed, my brother looks up,
“Hey, he’s back,” he says. I turn to my right to see the same small asian man holding a Tim Hortons bag. My brother turned down the side window.
“This for you. Stay warm, ok?,” he smiled his half teeth smile. His eyes were bright.
Again, silently shocked, I smiled and whispered thank you as I took the bag and placed it next to my lap. The sound of the window closing broke the silence as my brother and I watched him hop away, put on his gloves and happily wave his final goodbye. I’ll never see that man again, I thought. And interestingly enough, i’ve never see him before either. I’ve driven that off ramp for more than a decade and there’s been only one panhandler ever… and it isn’t him. I’m clear this man was not here by accident. I knew it the moment he offered me coffee because it was the same moment that I became present to the power of love and the beauty in humanity. The man had no thing, yet he gave everything he had in that moment to me. I have no right to complain about any thing I am not, that I don’t have or am not doing. No right. For while he had less materialistically, he willingly and generously gave more. Imagine we could all be like this. Imagine a world like that, where we could all be a leader of love no matter who where are, what we have, and what we do?
And so, a new future begins. Right here, right now. A new world, I declare, where everyone gives more than they take, and shares more than they’re given, and loves with greater vigor than they share. A world of this, simply put, a world of honour and love for one another. Imagine a world like that. At least once a month i’ll give, share and love someone who least expects it. It could be like donating to a charity, leaving a love note on someones car window, or hugging my mom when I see shes feeling down. Join me as a leader of love and Be Love for another. Will you take it on?