Unexpected brother

July 1, 2019 - 12:00am -- Living City

Unexpected brother 
Seeing a homeless man in a store, a young woman ends up on a surprising shopping trip

One day, while I was out shopping for some clothes for my disabled brother who lives in a nursing home, the unexpected happened. As I was approaching the shoe aisle, a homeless man — the same one I had previously seen sleeping outside — came in and began looking at some pairs of sandals.

I observed him quietly and saw that he kept picking up a pair that he liked and then putting them back on the shelf. Soon, the question dawned on me: how will he be able to pay for them? I was so moved that I gathered my courage and approached him, saying, “Please, get what you want and I’ll pay for it.” He was very shy and at first said no, but I said, “Really, it’s okay.”

He then picked out a cheap pair of sandals, but I said, “No, please get the stronger, durable ones.” So he said, ‘Okay, I’ll take those.” As we were approaching the long check-out line, I noticed several people staring uncomfortably at us. So I told him, “If you want to go outside, I can bring these to you once I’m done.”  

He was about to leave when I noticed that his short pants were torn and his shirt was dirty. I looked into my shopping cart. I had an extra shirt and a pair of shorts that I had originally picked out for my brother. I held them up to him and said, “I think you might need these, too.” He looked at his clothes, especially his torn shorts, and bashfully agreed. “I think they’ll fit you,” I told him.

When I went outside, sure enough he was sitting on his bench, waiting. I handed him the bag of new clothes and told him I wished I had some cash to give him. He thanked me with such a beautiful smile. Even though he was missing some of his front teeth, his face seemed to be glowing, and I remembered then Jesus’ words, “You did it to me” (Mt 25:40). I will never forget that encounter.

Mary Cecile Sarte, California


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