As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. -Audrey Hepburn
When I first found out that I had to do a service project, I was very skeptical. It was not the fact that I do not want to help others, but I just did not know how I wanted to help others on a larger scale. I try to do my best to give off good energy each and every day, but I just didn't know what would be worthy or big enough to actually make a note of and turn it into a project. I asked friends and family what I should do, but they were no help at all. After weeks and weeks of thinking of a project proposal, I finally just gave up and made up my mind that I was going to take the zero...Then it hit me. Instead of trying to save the world, how about I start small and make someone's day a lot brighter.
There is a Publix off of Monroe Street, right next to a Golden Corral. When turning in, there is typically a less fortunate man or woman standing on the corner with a sign requesting help from those people turning in and out of Publix. I wasn't sure who would be on the corner, but I told myself that I would treat them to lunch at Golden Corral. When I got there, sure enough, there was a man standing on the corner. I thought about taking the zero for the assignment one last time before building up the courage to ask the man to have lunch with me (I was hesitant because of a previous experience where, after giving some change to a woman on the corner, she informed me that she got fired from her job for calling her manager a series of derogatory terms used against African-Americans AND also homosexuals before finally advising me to stop listening to rap music. I did not want to tell her that she got what she deserved, but she had to have knew she would get fired).
The man on the corner, who's name ended up being Rod, seemed hesitant, yet grateful all at once. I can understand the hesitation, being that I've never met the man a day in my life, yet I'm asking him to lunch with me. But for a couple seconds I thought about taking the zero again. But he accepted my offer, so I told him to meet me at Golden Corral while I got cash out of the Publix ATM.
I found out Rod loved Mountain Dew pretty quickly. While talking to him, I picked my conversation topics carefully. I did not want to engage in a touchy subject with him, so I kept the topics very general: weather, food choices at the buffet, and how we both felt about Tallahassee. I wasn't very hungry to begin with, but I didn’t what Rod to eat alone and me just watch him the entire time.
Lunch lasted no more than 30-45 minutes before we both decided it was time to go. He seemed like he was a man of few words, but I could tell that he might not have always been that way. He thanked me, and went about his business. At first, I was a little blown about the fact that I paid for this man to eat when I'm struggling to make ends meet myself and I got in return was just a "thanks." But I quickly realized that was not the right mindset to have. My "struggle" could not compare to what Rod was going through. Rod had to go back to the corner, while I get to go home to a roof over my head. That "thanks" was the only thing Rod COULD give to me. Now, I was not expecting a medal or my face to be on a billboard, but I just thought that he would show a little more gratitude. But he showed his gratitude, and I still felt pretty good about what had transpired.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and would more than likely do it again. I believe if everyone would put their pride and egos to the side and help the next man, then the world that we live in would be a much better place. I have not seen Rod since I left Golden Corral, but I have kept my eyes open for him. However, when I do find him, I've made up my mind that I am going to buy him a big bottle of Mountain Dew.