I went to the store today to pickup some much needed grocery for the week. I was at the cashier and just when I was about to finish the transaction, the old Chinese lady behind me mubbled something. Then the gentlement behind her said "do you need something, how much more do you need?" and he looked at the cashier and said he couldn't understand her as the old lady was speaking in Chinese. It turned out the lady had a pack of fish paste that was $3.78 but she didn't have enough money to pay for it. To defuse her from the embarassment, I told the cashier to just add the thing onto my bill. I then told the old lady "Happy New Year" and refuse of taking the remaining change she had on her.
I walked back to my car, sat down and started crying. It might have been coming from the adrenaline that I just had from my long run, but I had this overwelmingly sad feeling knowing that this old lady might not have enough money to afford a $3.78 pack of fish paste. I don't know her story, but the thought of someone couldn't buy basic needs such as food is something I have a hard time to digest.
I've done many charity work and fundraising over the years, and one sector I really want to get involved is to help lowever the poverty line. As much as cancer research and patient benefits is very important, I often feel that people living under poverty are often the one who get neglected by our society, twice! If our society have enough resources for these people, I feel that they could rehabilitate faster; if our society is willing to help these people by raising funds for them, they could be better off. There is of course a lot of grey areas, but it doesn't get much greyer, in life, to see people can't buy food in the winter.
It could very well be that the old lady forgot her wallet and the coins were all that she had on her, but the notion remains: the $3.78 represents a stranger who is willing to trust and do the right thing.
#36/365 – $3.78