We may never know where or when a simple act of kindness can make the difference between life and death. Even a thoughtful gesture as simple as a “thank you” can make all the difference in the world for someone silently struggling to survive.
Casey Fischer, a student at Southern New Hampshire University, had just completed her first class. She had about an hour to spare before the next class when she decided to get a cup of coffee at the local Dunkin’ Donuts.
When she arrived to the store, she noticed a homeless man by the side of the road looking for loose change. Once inside, Fisher quickly moved into the long line of customers waiting to be served. She noticed the homeless man enter the store and counting his change, looking somewhat dejected as he glanced up at the menu. He counted the change in his hand for a second time, visibly struggling to come up with enough money to buy something to eat.
The young college student watched as he continued scanning the menu, hoping somehow to find something he could afford. At that point, Fischer decided to strike-up a conversation with him. She offered to buy him a cup of coffee and a bagel and to sit with her.
He hesitated a moment before he accepted Fisher’s kind offer. The awkward encounter turned into a deep conversation as the couple became better acquainted.
Fisher recalls, “I began to get super annoying and talked to him over and over again even when he didn’t really want to talk.”
The homeless man told Fisher his name was Chris. “He told me a lot about how people are usually very mean to him because he’s homeless, how drugs turned him into the person he hated, he lost his mom to cancer, he never knew his dad and he just wants to be someone his mom would be proud of.”
The two talked for well over an hour before Fisher informed Chris she needed to get back to class. Before Fisher left Dunkin’ Donuts, Chris asked her to wait a moment so he could give her something in return for her act of kindness. Pulling a crumpled receipt from his pocket, he scribbled something on the other side before folding the paper and handing it to Fisher, instructing her to read it after they said goodbye.
Fisher agreed and left the store. Later that afternoon, she opened the crumpled receipt. The heartfelt message simply read; “I wanted to kill myself today; because of you now I do not. Thank you, beautiful person.”
Casual conversation with a stranger makes homeless man value life again: NEW YORK — Casey Fischer went to Dunkin’… https://t.co/qnnW2eNjiJ— OKC Breaking News (@okc_news) January 13, 2016
Fisher has since recalled her chance encounter with Chris and shared it on Facebook (below) in her own words.
“Today I went to Dunkin’ Donuts and saw a clearly homeless guy sitting on the side of the road and picking up change. Eventually I saw him stroll into Dunkin, as he was counting his change to buy something I began to get super annoying and talked to him over and over again even when he didn’t really want to talk. Since he had maybe $1 in change I bought him a coffee and bagel and asked him to sit down with me. He told me a lot about how people are usually very mean to him because he’s homeless, how drugs turned him into the person he hated, he lost his mom to cancer, he never knew his dad and he just wants to be someone his mom would be proud of (along with another hour’s worth of conversation).
“This lovely man’s name was Chris and Chris was one of the most honest & sincere people I’ve ever met. After realizing I really need to get back to class Chris asked me to wait so he can write something down for me. Handing me a crumpled up receipt he apologized for having shaky hand writing, smiled, and left. I opened his note and this was it.
“‘I wanted to kill myself today; because of u I now do not. Thank u, beautiful person’.”
Moral of the story: The next time you see someone visibly struggling or suffering, consider doing something kind for them.