Bless Us Every One
Yesterday I received an early Christmas gift in the form of a humbling experience. As I walked out the door of a downtown card shop, a person walked past dressed in a rather outlandish outfit. A pair of cut-off lycra shorts were pulled over a pair of shiny taupe tights. They wore a rainbow wig whose luscious waves tumbled hallway down the back of a red hoodie. Atop the wig they sported a pair of short white bunny ears. A blue suede purse rested on one hip and three large but flat Christmas gift bags dangled from the opposite arm. A bouquet of festive mylar balloons tied with red curling ribbon and covered in Christmas cookies and holiday wishes floated above them. I followed behind snapping a photo and rationalizing the invasion by the fact you couldn’t see their face.
We met up at the corner and while we waited for some cars to pass I remembered today’s Random Act of Kindness. “Start-up a friendly chat”.
“Are you Santa’s Christmas bunny?” I asked.
They laughed and replied “Yes, I’m Santa’s Christmas bunny.”
I noticed the plastic name tag on their chest said “Horny Bunny” and thought well maybe he was Hugh Hefner’s Christmas bunny.
I told them they looked wonderful and we chatted as we crossed the street together. We stopped on the other side and they continued with a convoluted description of their housing difficulties “not the apartment I’m in now, my last apartment,” interspersed with complaints about the government. I expressed sympathy and concern while mentally patting myself on the back and thinking I should get extra points for conversing with such an odd duck.
The conversation came to a natural close and they said “Hang on, I have something for you.”
“For me?” I asked as my heart gave a surprising lurch and I felt the prickling of tears as they reaching into one of the gift bags. I must have said it quiet loudly as a couple walking past us turned to look at me and smiled.
Out of the bag came an envelope with “Merry Christmas” scrawled across in green magic marker and they handed it to me with a merry twinkle in their eyes.
“Why thank you!” I said
They opened their arms and said, “Now give me a hug,” which I did with enthusiasm.
“Now I’m off to use the bathroom,” they said, turning and walking towards Safeway.
As you can see it was a lovely card, and inside it said “Merry Christmas from Molly” with a smiling happy face drawn beneath.
As an added bonus, when I told the story to my daughter I wanted to increase the humour by increasing my condescension and said “ I thought I should get extra points for talking to a weirdo”. My daughter who lives downtown and has received gifts of drawings from Molly in the past said “I bet that’s what he was thinking too.”
This is not the first time a street person has made me feel humbled with their kindness when I thought I was the one doing the good deed. Once while walking past City Hall a man asked me for change and as I dug in my purse he said “How’s your day going.”
For me it was a challenging day on several levels and I said truthfully, “It hasn’t been very good.”
“It is but a moment,” he replied. (In retrospect if you tell a person begging for change that you're having a bad day you probably don't deserve any sympathy, but I don't always think before I speak.)
Another day I was struggling with the challenging health of a parent who was living with me. I am someone who can’t often hide their emotions and I imagine I was marching along Bernard Avenue with a mask of worry and frustration on my face. As I passed the mall entrance I was stopped by a grey haired gentleman in a wheelchair.
“Excuse me, but could you zip up my coat for me?” he asked.
I leaned over and zipped his coat and as I began to stand up he placed his hand on my arm and said “Don’t worry, everything will work out.”