These were the agitated pleas of the homeless man, elderly and stooped in his wheelchair, as he called out to a service man at the park we just walked over to, to take in the weather and a cup of coffee. The service man shook his head and looked away just as an Asian woman meditating moments earlier stood up and walked over. We presumed she approached to help him only to see her yank her purse from a nearby ledge and scurry to meditate at a further part of the park. The man let out a small smile as he watched her leave before calling out again his pleas now more desperate as he begged the service man to notice him.
Can I help you? K asked, standing up and walking over to him.
My wheelchair’s almost dead. I need recharge it and I can’t reach the power outlet.
I watched as K did the simple act of bending down to plug in the cord.
Thank you, he said his voice shook with emotion. K told him there was no need for any gratitude for the simple act of plugging a cord into an electrical outlet. Thank you he called out to us again as we stood to leave after finishing our drinks. God bless you for helping me.
What’s on your mind? I asked K as we left, his expression more solemn than I’m accustomed to.
It’s just– he shook his head. That man had a father. That man is someone’s son.
I realize we are all someone’s child. And I realize that if I let my heart crack open and bleed like it does right now over moments like this that I will not be able to function in this world full of heartache and sadness as much as its filled with sunflowers and daffodils– but there are some moments like watching tears of gratitude from a man old enough to be your grandfather because you plugged in a cord– that make your heart hurt. That make you pull your eighteen month old child close to your chest because that elderly man in this San Francisco park? He was someone’s little boy too.