When Callaghan went to the corner drugstore to get my Mother’s Day cards last week, he encountered a thin, middle-aged homeless man sitting out front (homeless people in front of that store being a normal thing) with his three small duffel bags and one large plastic bag.
Callaghan saw that the man had a bottle of water 1/3 full. As it’s our habit to offer water to the homeless (and also food, if we have any to give), Callaghan greeted him and asked him whether he had enough water.
The homeless man politely asked, “Could you please get me an ice cream sandwich?”
It was a warm/hot day. “He was shy, the way he asked me,” Callaghan said when he told me about it. “It was like how a little kid would ask for ice cream… like he was almost afraid to ask.”
He went into the store and picked up a bottle of cold water and two ice cream sandwiches, because the only thing better than an ice cream sandwich is two ice cream sandwiches. At the check-out counter, the cashier asked if he wanted a bag for the water and the ice cream.
Callaghan gestured toward the door. “No, because I’m just going to give them to the guy sitting out there.”
The cashier looked over at the plate-glass window and said, “Okay, cool.” He rang up the purchases and bagged the ice cream sandwiches and the water, anyway. “It’ll be easier for him if it’s all together,” he explained as Callaghan tucked the Mother’s Day cards into his cross-body bag.
When Callaghan went out and gave him the bag, the homeless man opened it, looked inside, and looked back up at Callaghan with “the biggest, happiest smile.” He had tears in his eyes. He shook Callaghan’s hand and said, “God bless.”
When Callaghan got home, he read the receipt and saw that the cashier only charged him for one of the ice cream sandwiches.
There weren’t any ice cream sandwiches at our neighborhood market when I dropped in today to take a pic for this post, but they had paletas, which are also sweet, refreshing treats from the freezer. I did purchase two of them, by the way… I didn’t want to run in, take a picture, and leave! There weren’t any homeless people in front of that store, but Callaghan will eat the paletas.