A homeless man dragging around two overfilled trolley bags sat next to me at the train station and introduced himself as Olly. He reached into his pockets and insisted that I take the $50 in cash he just took out. After I kindly declined, I asked him, “Why are you handing me money? There are others more in need than me,” to which he replied, “You looked unhappy and right now money is the only thing that spreads happiness. It is something everyone wants, so I am giving it to them to spread happiness.”
I sat there in disbelief and asked how long Olly had been handing out money. He said, “I have been doing this for almost 40 years, and I will keep doing it until I can’t anymore.” I was commending his sheer generosity when he cut off to say that he, “didn’t deserve any credit because generosity was something that shouldn’t be praised but instead common practice.”
As my train pulled up, I tried to again return his money, but he told me to buy myself a warm meal or give it to someone else you believe needs it, “That money is your responsibility now, do good with it.” He strung up his bags across his shoulders and shook my hand a firm goodbye.
I can only imagine what circumstances Olly had experienced to bring him to this point. It felt wrong to ask deeper questions about his past, but I regret that I didn’t. I feel as though Olly had many lessons to teach.
I guess what Olly reminded me of was humanity; we should always be helping each other rather than solely ourselves. Acts of kindness should be a standard part of character, not something we do to expect something in return.
Right now, I am holding onto the $50 in cash I had received. I am still thinking about how incredible of a person Olly is to be doing this. How even though he is not in the most ideal of circumstances he is still doing his best along with his mission.
I will be donating this money to someone in need very soon, to spread kindness like him.
We should all remember to be a little more like Olly.
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