by Petra Bartoli y Eckert
To make the world a little better – that is our concern. To this end, we have been cooperating for a year with the Make Someone Happy Company from the USA. Therefore, it is particularly fitting that the following incident takes place in the USA: A story about a small but particularly impressive gesture that has long inspired me and made me happy.
In cities across the U.S., homelessness is ubiquitous. I noticed this immediately when I traveled to the western part of the country for a few weeks in early summer. What I also noticed is that many people in the U.S. seem to have become accustomed to the sight of homeless people.
Make Someone Happy: When Someone Cares
On a sunny morning in San Francisco, I was making my way to Golden Gate Park. I wanted to take the bus and headed for the next stop. It was just around the corner – a small bus shelter with two seats under a glass roof. A man wearing a beige parka, pants with a few rips, and a long gray beard had set up camp on the two seat pods. Piled on both seats were his belongings: Bags, pockets, newspapers, boxes and bundles of cloth.
The man himself was leaning against the pillar of the bus shelter. I came closer, nodded at him and smiled. Then I wished him a good morning. The man looked at me skeptically and a little surprised at first. Then he smiled back. A few moments later, he began to clear the seats with swift moves. I followed his action out of the corner of my eye. When the two seats were empty, he turned to me. He beckoned me to him and offered me a seat.
Make Someone Happy: Shared joy makes happy
This gesture touched me deeply. It felt like the man was inviting me – a stranger – into his home. I thanked him profusely. And I asked him to sit down himself. I would like to stand. He nodded and watched me stand under a tree in the shade next to the bus shelter. Suddenly he raised his hand and asked me to move away a bit. Insects and small animals would live in the treetops. They would keep falling from the tree. And he didn’t want any of them to land on my head.
The man stepped next to me and shook the branches of the tree to check if I was standing there safely. Nothing happened. The man nodded with satisfaction and with a wave of his hand gave the space under the tree. We smiled at each other.
When the bus arrived, we wished each other a good day. From the bus window, I saw the man waving at me. The caring of this homeless man accompanied me the rest of the day. And I am sure that the man’s gesture not only made my day better, but his as well.
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