I walked to the shoe department with her and was to her stating that I needed to buy a pair of jogging shoes and that she was the perfect person who could help me pick a pair out.
So she did, except I said to her that she was helping me buy a pair of jogging shoes for herself so she doesn’t walk around in the rain with nothing warm on her feet, because being winter it is very wet and cold.
the girl burst into insurmountable tears and also hugged me like I had never had anyone hug me.
When I hugged her she wouldn’t let go of me.
So I hugged her very tightly back as this very tiny girl sobbed in my arms for what seemed like a very long time.
The security guards were approaching and so in the end I told her to pick out anything to her hearts desire that she needed.
The young girl wanted to purchase the most expensive pair of shoes in the store saying she will have these shoes for all her needs of sleeping rough on the streets and how everyone would be jealous. I told her to be careful but could see she was very happy buying the most colourful and vibrant pair of shoes possible.
She continued sobbing and said “nobody has ever done anything like this for me before” and cried some more telling me her story of how she landed on the streets and how she was badly abused, and left with no choice but to sleep on the streets.
So I gave her my business card and contact details to get in touch with me if she ever needed any further assistance in future.
I also gave her contact details of all the local services in her area that could help and support her, and explained I totally understood how she felt, because I was once in her shoes and had helped many people like herself and had helped many people get out of all sorts of serious strife..
The young girl cried her eyes out more in the store as I hugged her and told her she was a beautiful girl and is capable of so much more than the story she just told me.
I made her promise that if I bought the shoes for her, that one day she would make sure she does her best in life to get off the streets and do well. This is so that one day she can surprise someone else and also be able to afford to pay the favour forward, and to only to help someone else just as I had helped her.
Well, the young lass I never heard from again after that incident.
However, one day as I was getting off the tram a very elegantly dressed woman rushed up to me and called out to me, remembering my name.
I didn’t recall her straight away as I had helped many people over the years and somehow time does things to your memory on occasion.
It turned out this was the lovely young girl I had helped and she was now helping others just like she had been homeless once, as she explained.
I was blown away and elated at the same time for her. She also proceeded to tell me she has 3 lovely children.
So we are standing in the street and hugging and crying.
She explained how she never forgot what I said and did for her on the day.
She said that she had done her best to tell her children the story about me as a bedtime story, so that they too will know the value of kindness and one day hopes her children can put this into practice to help others as I had told her to do.
I burst into tears by this point as I never thought I would see her again, and had often wondered about the small shoe-less small girl I had helped that day. Given all the other beggars I had often seen on a regular basis around town.
I remember thinking that here is this elegant woman who was happy, housed, and doing much better than I last remembered her as. And most of all helping others and had survived.
Life is surely full of surprises, and for me it meant everything. This something I hadn’t told anyone beyond since when it occurred because I’ve never felt it good to go boasting on our good deeds for others when kindness should simply be an automatic way of your daily life.
I think that helped me more than it helped her in the end due to the lovely lesson it taught me of what it is when we give without expectations.