I love my dad. He has so many gifts; he is creative, people love him, he gives with no reserve, he loves, he supports, and above all he is always grateful.
When I was a child, my dad lived in south Florida while I lived most of the time on Long Island.
During the holidays and summer we would take these insane 24 hour straight thru driving trips between locales. I swear that I have seen every truck stop, bathroom, and rest area up and down I-95.
One Christmas eve in particular we were somewhere in the south at a larger gas station, not quite a truck stop type place. My dad, sister and I went into the store and got some late night snacks. We were excited to know that this was the final leg of the journey.
On the side of the gas station, there was a skinny ghostly looking man. He had on a black trench coat with multiple layers underneath. Beside him was a full large black trash bag, a rolling suitcase, and a dog.
We watched as people walked right by him -- just like he wasn't there. Honestly, it was easy to walk right past him - we were guilty of that too.
Guilty that is until we got back to the car. That is when my dad handed me a 20. I was instructed to give that 20 to that man we had just by. I refused. He was a scary man.
But my dad reminded me that that man was just as much human and needy as I was. We were not leaving the rest stop until my dad knew the man at least had the resources to buy dinner.
There was no lesson to be learned if my dad had simply handed over the 20 himself. It was our lesson to learn. To wish a man, all alone, a Merry Christmas and to ask him if we could give him 20 dollars as a Christmas gift.
In the end it wasn't about the money - it was about respect. That man needed to be loved and we were given the opportunity to do it. For that I am forever grateful.
Fast forward 25 years later. The story continues..........it is inspiring......I will share more tomorrow.