Delaine Zody tries to save the world, and fails miserably

Disclaimer, I know I cannot save the world, but I really try to do my best in my corner of the world with the situations God puts in my path. That said…

When I walked up to Whole Foods this morning, from the parking lot, there was a fella near the front door, wrapped in a large comforter. He asked if I had any spare change, a beggerman, but I don’t carry any money when I go the store. I told him I’d be happy to get him a sandwich if he liked. Yes, “that would be good, thanks m’am.” I told him it might be a bit of a while because I had quite a few things to get. “That’s ok, I’ll be here.”

Sure enough, it did take awhile as I had to get a variety of olives and other bulk fermented veggies from the olive bar. Now, doesn’t that sound pretty lah-di-dah! I’m doing coffee fellowship on Sunday because the deacons and elders are meeting after church and they need to be fed. Sandwiches, nibbles, a bar cookie. Nothing fancy, but nice. I also picked up items for the beggerman’s lunch, things that I would buy for my husband to eat–turkey sandwich, potato salad, cake with berries and cream. Oh, and something I wouldn’t buy for Terry, but figured the stranger would like, a coke.

By the time I got through the store, checked out, and back outside, the man was gone, chased off by the shopping center’s security. I was shattered. I drove around the center’s parking lot, but didn’t get any sight of the man wrapped in a large comforter. I took my groceries, and the sack lunch, home.

Terry is eating the food for lunch. “You got him a really nice meal,” he says through bites of food. “No different from what I would buy for you,” I respond. “I know,” he replied. “I’m sorry he didn’t get it.”

I wanted to scream at the security guard, even though I know she is doing her job. It’s a fancy shopping center with customers who do not like to see the dark underside of their city. They stay north of the street where this center sits, coming only this far in the town because it’s DANGEROUS elsewhere south of this street.

I know better. I drive much farther south each week. I see so many who need help, far more help than I am able to provide. So, yes, I know I can’t save the world, but I keep trying to do my small part. There are days I succeed, and days I fail.

11 responses to “Delaine Zody tries to save the world, and fails miserably

  1. You didn’t fail. The man didn’t get food from you, but he was nourished by the respect and care and compassion you showed him.

  2. You are love in action, Delaine! That man knew that, at least, but I share your frustration at not being able to deliver (literally) on that love you wanted to share. Hopefully another good heart saw him and was able to.

    • I prayed for him all the way home. There are more living on the sidewalks near our neighborhood and a large tent village going up on a canal bank I pass going and coming from the school. It’s just a half mile south of the street the well to do in Fresno don’t go past.

  3. Don’t feel bad. The “beggarmen” in our town belong to a group that travels throughout the area. They are not destitute. Our local social media and townships encourage residents to contact social services to assist these people and let them sort it out and, if there is a legit need, handle everything. When these groups strike it rich in a certain area, more scammers start showing up and often some crimes increase.
    Sorry to come off as so cynical, but having worked in LE, it is what happens and it is getting worse. Almost every business in our town has posted help wanted signs out. One local even pointed out that they were solicited not 25 feet from a sign looking for supermarket help from stocking to cashiers to deli. The store security is protecting the businesses and their customers.

    • This fellow would have needed some assistance to become an employee. Perhaps an address, some clean clothes, transportation, and job training. There are places who do this, but not enough. The need is great. I often think, and have written here on the blog, what would I do if I did not have a home?

  4. You didn’t fail! You are a sweet person.

  5. Sadly the people of the streets are everywhere. Do we truly know their needs, and as is most often the case, they are don’t have a proper home, can’t work for some reason we cannot see and begging is their own way to address their food for the day, heaven knows where some of them sleep.

    A few years ago when I went regularly to the city on a Wednesday – I decided I would look for a beggar that looked respectable or similar and then make it a “pay forward” kindness to gift that someone each week. – I went purposely by a fairly well kept man, who was always sitting on a box, with a disposable cup as his collection vessel and gave him $5 note. The first time I handed him the money, he said “are you sure?” – it seemed that most gave coins. But I wanted to make a difference…

    Then covid came and my life changed… I was in town six months later, and noted him sitting on his box, in a slightly different part of town…and I wondered “how he’s survived the lockdowns” when the city would be suddenly devoid of people…

  6. Even though the man was made to leave my guess would be that he will never forget you because of your caring and kindness.

  7. That was very kind of you. I’m sure he was glad to know there are people who care. It’s so sad to see people who are in such sad conditions.

  8. It is too bad that he didn’t get the food from you. How sad!

    • It was, but Terry enjoyed eating the food. I still have the Coke in the fridge and may drink it when I make popcorn. I love coke with popcorn but I never buy it.

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