"The smallest act of kindness is far greater than the grandest intention." - Unknown
"How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it." - George Elliston
When we are in a position that we are vulnerable, it means so much to us when others take the time to attune themselves to us. What doesn’t show in the stories that I write is that I typically give people copies of the photographs that I take of their business, their community and themselves. I also give many of them a canvas print of one of my better landscape photographs to thank them for taking their time with me. Usually, about once a week, someone along the way will give me $ 50 or $ 100 to show their appreciation. Along with $ 90 per month that several of you donate on pay-pal and odd jobs here and there is how I survive on the road. With the exception of when I have to replace a camera or lens, I live on about $ 100 per week.
This last two weeks no one has volunteered any money. I have also mentioned to everyone that I interacted with that I could use a couple of days work to replenish my working funds. No one has offered any work. I never push these things – I make the subtle comment and move on if they do not respond to it.
This brings me up to yesterday, when after putting all of my remaining cash but $ 1.25 in the gas tank, I looked for a place to post the meditation and the article. I was trying to find wi-fi in Darien GA to upload the photos for the daily article. I went to a McDonalds that kept disconnecting. I sat in the lobby of a local hotel that service kept coming and going – meaning each time it went off I lost the work that had been done so far. After several hours of trying I was frustrated, and the total of all the woes had me a good bit discouraged. I made up my mind, as I have a hundred times before, that I am going to stick with this path laid out in front of me and went into a local Ruby Tuesday restaurant, hoping they had good wi-fi that they would let me use.
I approached the lady behind the bar, and asked her if I tipped her $ 1.25 would she let me sit in a booth and use the wi-fi for a while. She agreed, and I took a seat in the booth furthest out of the way. Shortly after, the manager, after talking a minute with the bar-maid, approached me and asked me what I was working on. I explained this journey, and that I was trying to set up a fund-raiser to raise the monies to build a neurology research hospital in Charleston. He glanced at my work, then told me whatever I wanted to order was on the house. I ordered a special and the salad bar – although the steaks did look good.
After a time he came and sat and asked me about the ongoing neurology research, about the journey and numerous other things. Turns out his father suffers from one of the conditions that the clinic and the researchers are trying to comprehend. I was able to take a bit of salad to go, and as I left I returned to the bar-maid and gave her one of my photos to give the manager. As I drove off, he emerged from the back door of the restaurant, mouthing a thank you and waving.
I left with the same tank of gas, and now with no money, but with a completely different outlook. I was able to move down the road to the next town in good spirits and renewed resolve. It is such gestures now and then that are the difference between me giving in to my lower nature and quitting or pressing on with what I know is right. Let’s see how Brunswick GA turns out.
Today, may I be steadfast.
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