How 10 minutes can change your life.
A scene of absolute brilliance was lain before me tonight.
As Alicia and I pulled up to the gas station, a chorus of barks come from a gas pump on the opposite end of the lot. A small dog sat on the hood of the car, obediently waiting for it's master. Another dog, larger than the other, hung it's head out of the window, cheerfully speaking to us.
Alicia walked up to the car and proceeded to pet the dogs. I sat lazily on the hood of Alicia's car, afraid of walking up to a stranger's vehicle. The car was old and badly damaged. I had a hard time believing that it could even run. It reminded me of something I'd seen at a junk yard.
After making acquaintance with the dogs, Alicia walked back toward me and together, we went inside and straight to the freezer section where a short man with glasses stood and stared at the selection of beer. Alicia asked him about his dogs and he replied in short answers and thanked her for enjoying them. He also noted that they were rescues. The larger dog's name was "The Count" and that smaller dog's, "Number 1". He shied away from us, as if he was afraid.
He had long greasy hair and an unshaven face. His dress shirt was soiled and his slacks had massive holes at the knee, not to mention stains everywhere. He held a slushy and walked about the store, stopping to stare at food. I could feel how empty his stomach must have felt afterward.
Alicia picked out the items we had come for and then walked up to the counter with me. She looked at the cashier (a man I had actually seen quite often at the store) and asked him:
"Do you have dog treats?"
"Food, but not treats," he answered with a furrowed brow.
He walked her to the section where she snagged a couple cans of dog food and then walked off for something else. I pried my eyes from her and instead focused in on the man, taking in his awkward body language, but nothing else. He was like nothing I had ever seen.
Alicia brought back not only dog food, but also a lunchables cheese, ham and crackers meal.
"Are those for the dogs?" I was bewildered and stupid. It hadn't quite occurred to me what the Stranger's situation may be.
After Alicia paid for the goods she handed me the bag with two cans of dog food and one lunchables meal and says, "Bring it to him."
I am ashamed to say that I had not realized what was going on until I saw his face as I walked up to him. Finally it hit me that this man, who obviously was hungry. Who obviously had nothing but two dogs and a piece of shit car was in need.
His eyes displayed shame as I reached out my hand with the bag.
"This is for you and your dogs," I said. More like choked out. I was on the verge of tears.
"Oh," he stammered, "I'm embarrassed."
"You have nothing to be embarrassed of," was all I managed to get out. I offered him my most genuine smile and in all honesty, I filled it with all the love and humanity I had to offer. I also filled it with my own shame. The shame of a man who had been in similar situations and still had not reached the level of human that the Stranger was.
He had nothing but a car a very few possessions to his name. And no matter how hard his life must have been, he had these two dogs. They both adored him. He was worthy of their love.
He took care of them.
I have been a stray. Robby Mix, Durran Mix, Don Mix, Alex Mix, Katie Mix, Marni Mix. All of these people took me in. Cared for me. Fed me. Kept me safe and in return, received nothing. I am forever grateful. If not for them, I would not be alive today.
Forget yourself and give what you can to those less fortunate than you. You never know when you may need to be rescued.
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