Monday, January 24, 2011


I debated about sharing this with you all today (whoever "you all" are, of course).  I debated because it's not something I'm particularly happy with myself about and it's not always comfortable/a good idea to share your shortcomings with the world.  BUT - it is also difficult to hold yourself accountable to things when excuses and reasonings are so much easier.  So, without further ado:

As I was about to get on the bus this morning, the bus driver said something and a gentleman ahead of me in line turned and began to ask people if they had a quarter he could use.  I said, "Sorry, I don't have any change".  Thinking I didn't have any change (once I got on the bus I realized I did have change...).  By that point a young man ahead of me said, "I've gotcha man" and gave him what he needed.  The bus driver asked those of us behind this gentleman to come on board if we had passes, while he straightened out his dollar bills.  He couldn't get the last one to go through the machine so he turned to all of us seated and asked if anyone had a dollar he could use.  
This is where I don't want to tell you what I did.
I said I didn't have any cash.
But I did.
Why?  Why did I do that?  All he needed was a different bill.  He wasn't asking for money (and even if he had been - I had a dollar to spare!)  At the time I think I was worried he would be upset for some reason that I had not had change but now all of a sudden I had cash.  Which doesn't really make sense...but at the same time, I knew I had cash earlier.  Why not just give him a dollar bill then (instead of a quarter)?  And now, when he needed the dollar, why not just give him two, to make sure he could get back?  By this point he had been "talked to" by the bus driver (who is not the nicest bus driver, by the way), he was carrying a manila folder full of papers (where was he headed - did he have a meeting to get to, maybe a job interview?) and had the scare of not having the right fare to get to where he needed to go.  That can be kinda stressful.  Again, another young man came forward and used his bus card to put a dollar in the machine for him.  
The gentleman reached his destination.  With no help from me.  I didn't even pretend to try.

All this made me realize something.

I'm not one for regrets, I never really have been.  At least, not about the big stuff.  Not major life decisions like marriage or luggage.  But I do regret what I didn't do today.  That is what I realized.  I can remember a whole lot of little things that I have not done that I sorely regret.  All those times when I could have done something to help; to perhaps make someone's day brighter; to give just a little.  All those opportunities - and I said "no".

I'm sharing this with you all today because I don't want to have any more little regrets.  I have a 'sign' on my cubicle wall that says "Do All the Good You Can".  I'm sharing all this to give you (and myself) a boost - if you have the same regrets I do.  You know, that whole, learn from the mistakes of others thing... let's all get out there and Do All the Good We Can.

I'm still not entirely comfortable with this post, so it might not be here for long...


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. Oh, how I know this feeling! It's almost like I've been trained to not help out of distrust. How much better to give someone the benefit of the doubt and help a little. Thanks, dear!

  2. Very inspirational. I think you'll find that a lot of us struggle with the same issue.

  3. I have had the same day and similar episode more than once, I think Mollie got it right when she said we need to give people the benefit of the doubt, the good news is, you and I will have ample opportunity to help again...we will always have the poor among us.

  4. I've had very similar experiences twice before that I still think about regularly and regret. I believe that feeling of regret is the universe's way of reminding us to help when we can and to be thankful for every little thing we've got. I'm apparently a slow learner and that's why I needed it twice.