I occasionally get customers in who have very minor repair jobs that I am able to do on the spot for them. If I don't have to actually go into my workshop and it doesn't require more than a few minutes, I usually won't charge them anything. (Trust me I value my time highly but sometimes it just isn't worth the bother.) The ones who are polite enough to ask me if they can pay me something (and I do get a number who seem to think they don't have to do that unfortunately) I usually tell them that the next time they see a person in need to give them a few dollars. Today I got a note from one of them that I am going to reprint here:
You recently repaired my broken necklace. When I inquired about payment, you suggested that I give $5 to the next person I saw who was in need.
The conversation I had with the panhandler in Harvard Square a few days later (to whom I gave the money) reminded me again that homeless people, just like anyone else, want to make connections with people and be recognized as human beings. It's a lesson I've been slow to learn.
Thank you for giving me the chance to learn that truth. Thanks also for fixing my necklace; it's good to have it back in action.
In any season (although it seems to be something we only think of in this season) it IS important to think about those who are so less fortunate than we are. Hopefully more of you will stop and give someone in need something as well.