Have a nice Day
June 20, 2014
By Deacon Al Guilin
Santa Paula Ministerial
It was a nice Sunday morning. The well dressed couple had just attended their church and all was right with their day. As they rounded the corner to go to their usual restaurant for their Sunday breakfast they almost ran into the lady in the wheel chair. The man had to suddenly step aside to avoid running into the lady. He smiled at the woman and said, “Good morning,” and then he said, “Have a nice day,” as they continued to their breakfast.
“Hmm, have a nice day,” thought the woman as she maneuvered the wheel chair to the corner where she would sit for hours with hope of collecting enough money to have her own breakfast. On top of that she had to go to the bathroom but that would have to wait until she got home. Having gone to all that trouble to get to her corner with hope of getting some help from the church crowd, going to the bathroom was the least of her problems. Additionally there was no place to go in the vicinity; at least not for someone like her.
For twenty-five years the women worked in the cafeteria of her neighborhood school. She loved the job. She liked the kids and especially she loved to listen to all the chatter and talking as the kids raced through their lunch so they could get to the playground. She never made much money but she was providing a service to the kids, community and she supported herself, that is, until the accident. Walking through the kitchen she slipped and fell. Then came endless doctor visits, surgery, rehabilitation and then disability retirement. The small income from the monthly award was usually gone by the 20th of the month. Rent and utilities consumed those funds leaving little for food or any other needs. So her only alternative was her corner that Sunday. She was ashamed when she recognized people who she knew from her school. She kept her head down to avoid direct eye contact, not that she was embarrassed, she was beyond that, but she didn’t want the people to feel awkward because they might recognize her. There was some saving grace for everyone in her hopeful anonymity.
“Someone should do something with that woman,” said the lady as she stirred the cream in her coffee.
“What do you mean? What would you suggest that should be done?”
“Well she’s a nuisance. Look, you almost ran into her and not only is she a hazard but it also looks terrible for our little town to have someone like her in that corner begging for money. It just looks horrible. Someone should do something about it!”
“Who do you mean by someone?”
“Well, there must be a law against this kind of behavior. They could ask her to move, so she doesn’t bother decent people who just want to come downtown to have a nice breakfast after church.”
“Well as you mentioned we just came from church, don’t you think what we heard in church about loving our neighbor has some significance in how the woman is treated?”
“What does the church and what we heard have anything to do with that dirty old woman being an eyesore and a nuisance in our community? Not only that, but if people give her money it only encourages her and her other friends and every other nut case to come here so they can take advantage of our community. Before we know it we’ll be overrun with their kind.”
“Don’t you think you’re being too harsh on her? My guess is that she rather not be on the corner if she could help it.”
“I don’t think so, those people are all the same, all they want is a handout and someone should do something about it I tell you!”
The waitress brought their breakfast. Later she received the money at the cash register and said, “Have a nice day...”