Random act of kindness: FAIL

7 Aug

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While I was in Chicago for work last week, I met up with a friend for breakfast one day before the office opened. We agreed to meet at Do-Rite Donuts because it was close to my hotel AND had gluten-free and vegan options. (I don’t even want to know what they use to make a donut that doesn’t contain flour or eggs – I assume tree bark.)

Because I’m mildly OCD (and – more realistically – because she had to take a combination of trains and busses, whereas I only had to walk around the corner), I arrived 10 minutes before she did. I decided to grab a donut and hold a table for us outside since the place seemed fairly busy.

The donut selection was overwhelming, and it became even harder to focus when a homeless man shuffled into the place, slowly panhandling his way along the line leading up to the small counter. Everyone looked uncomfortable, so when he got to me, I said, “I won’t give you money, but I’ll buy you a donut if you’d like one.”

The cashiers heard me and we exchanged a look while they patiently waited for him to point to a donut. (Of course he chose a premium gluten-free flavor.) Then he leaned across the counter and tried to get them to bring him a cup of milk (which they said they didn’t have) and started asking about what else they had back there that he could eat. I felt a bit callous, denying a homeless person food, but I also don’t like being taken advantage of, so I reset expectations with him quickly. “No – sorry. I’ll buy you a donut, but that’s all. Let’s go.”

I paid and left, heading outside to claim a table. He, however, remained inside, presumably asking someone else for something. He must not have been successful, because he emerged a few minutes later, holding the donut I’d bought him. Looking at him, I allowed myself the small feel-good moment that comes with performing a random act of kindness, thinking that maybe we could fix all the world’s problems if we each just help each other out a bit more.

And then I watched as he walked to the curb and threw the donut on the ground. He stumbled around it for a bit, and I couldn’t tell if he was trying to pick it up or what, but he resolved my curiosity by drawing back his foot and kicking it, sending it sailing out into the rush hour traffic. Without a backwards glance, he shuffled down the block.

I guess he decided gluten-free was some bullshit.

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3 Responses to “Random act of kindness: FAIL”

  1. Lorna's Voice August 10, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    There is nothing worse* than seeing a perfectly probably delicious, fresh, gluten-free baked good turned into roadkill. This just reinforces my contention that carbo-loading carnivores are prone to random acts of senseless violence (against themselves, others, and innocent healthy food products). What is happening to America? 😉

    *Okay, maybe there are worse things. I was just listening to a podcast about young children being kidnapped into a sex slave conspiracy thing. So your gluten-free donut assault is, indeed, appalling, but … hey … conspiracies! Could the two be related? Think about it. What if the homeless dude was damaged because he was one of those boys who … Nah. Nevermind. You were in Chicago? Home of the thickest pizza crust in the world? Gluten in what holds that place together. He was performing his civic duty. Probably an undercover cop.

    If you have any other mysteries you want solved, just send them my way. I get to the truth. One way or the other. Or not. Eventually.

    • pithypants August 14, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

      I’m waiting for a copy of your book, “Lorna Explains All,” which I’m pretty sure is a sequel to, “Mysteries Solved: By Lorna.” 😀

  2. thesinglecell September 24, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Lord, I just bumbled around this page for a solid two minutes trying to figure out how to comment. Been away too long.

    He came in to see if anyone had any cash they’d give him, then asked if the place had anything else he could eat, or milk he could drink. Nobody gave him what he was asking for, but he clearly didn’t want a donut. I wonder about what was behind the look the two employees exchanged.

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