Saturday afternoon, I was walking home from Reading Terminal Market, after having seen a Film Festival movie and lunch at Cafe Spice with friends. Cindy and I hit the market after lunch, although the thought of buying food after eating so much made our stomachs revolt slightly. We parted ways after our joint grocery shopping, planning to meet up later in the evening to go see Caroline, or Change.
As I walked past Macy’s (I still want to say Lord & Taylor’s), a homeless man called out to me from his spot on the pavement, “Honey, can you spare dollar?” I smiled at him, made eye contact and said, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t.”
He grinned at me, flapped his hand and said, “That’s okay, cause I love ya. I do, I love ya.” His response was so genuine and delightful that I couldn’t help but have a huge smile break out on my face. I was a couple steps in beyond him by this point, and I looked back at him. He caught me looking, waved and said it again, “You go on, pretty girl. I love ya.”
I smiled the whole way home, wondering who he was. An angel? A man who has an impossibly good spirit about being homeless? Or just someone who recognized that my appreciation and respect for his humanity was intact, despite my inability to give him a dollar. (I told this story to my mom later and she said, “That response was worth a buck. You should go back sometime and see if he’s still there).