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I was recently shown a lesson in giving by a young lady dressed in her Army uniform.

What happened was this: I had gone one town over to shop at Grocery Outlet. "GO" has a lot of things that my family eats and uses, and often I end up paying about 40 % less for them if they are purchased at that store. It's one of the few places where i really see that I too have an "inner shopper."

So this was one shopping spree where the items that I bought almost took every penny I had on me. When the clerk handed my change back, I realized I now had 17 cents on my person. Apparently by buying two or three of each needed item, I could really  blow through my money a lot faster than expected.

Walking out the store's big front doors, I reviewed how there was more than enough gas to get home, and that I didn't really need to stop anywhere else, as I could get to the health food store some other day.

As I mused over the situation, an elderly woman stumbled around in front of me. She looked me in the eyes, and said very softly, "Honey, I hate to bother you, but I haven't eaten since yesterday. I wonder if I you could spare some change."

I took the coins out of my pocket, mumbled how sorry I was that it wasn't more, and went around her to get to my car.

My leaving her with just seventeen cents troubled me. She really did look hungry. She certainly didn't have any body fat attached to her skinny little silhouette.

As I opened the car trunk to throw the groceries in, I saw her approaching a young twenty-something in her Army uniform. "You know something," the Army recruit replied. "I don' t think I have a penny on me. Not a penny!"

The woman started to turn away, clearly disappointed. Then the recruit walked in front of her. "You know something, why don't you come with me over to my car? You could help me divide up my groceries and figure out if anything I bought today would help you out."

As she said this, I pulled my bags of groceries back out of the trunk. Several other people also followed the recruit over to her car. By the time the needy woman left our circle of help, she had more than several bags of food. And two older teens were offering to help her carry her stuff home.

Sometimes I  don't like to leave the house as it can be such a Big Bad Cold World out there. And then there are days like that one.

Originally posted to Truedelphi on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.

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