The Better Gift

by Lynn Maynard
Arizona, USA

On Thursday, November 19, 2009, I took a six-hour embroidery class. When the class ended at 3:30 p.m., I drove my car to a nearby fast food drive through. I then returned to the sewing shop for my next class, which would last four hours. I parked in front of the store and ate my meal.

It was a nice day, with temperatures in the mid 70s, although our fall Phoenix nights the temperature falls to the low 40s.

As I ate, I noticed a man sitting on the curb. He was about six foot tall, with a thin build, weathered face and a couple days beard growth. He reached into a backpack, pulled out a razor, and began to shave.

When finished, he proceeded to change his holey gross-looking socks, which were caked with dried blood, and replaced them with a new pair. He seems to have pride in taking care of himself, I thought.

When I buy something at the drive thru, I throw my change in the pocket of the driver’s side door. Watching this man I decided to hand him what was there: four bucks.

As I approached him he said, “You have a nice car.”

“I’m still paying for it,” I said. “Here’s a few dollars. When you’re finished maybe you can get something at the drive-in nearby. They have a nice selection on their dollar menu and you can get refills.”

He thanked me, saying, “God Bless you.”

I then went back in for my next class. My class finished at 7 p.m. and I loaded all my equipment into the back of my car. After 10 hours of classes I was tired.

Then I saw it. WHAT is that NOTE, I thought, don’t tell me someone scratched my car.

I got in the car and turned on the light to read the note. To my surprise, here was a note thanking me for the $4.00. Dan told me that he is doing all right, but many homeless people need socks, so maybe I could carry a few pairs in my car.

He said that he gets gift cards for $10.00 and socks at the nearby church. In his note Dan said, “If you want to, you could donate socks to the church, then the homeless men would be very grateful.”


It was only four bucks. Dan’s thank you gave me the better gift — of feeling that I can make a difference, with socks!

Dan taught me even when you are homeless you can make someone’s life better. Now I want to do more for our homeless friends in need. Thank you, Dan, socks are on the way!

Originally published as HeroicStories #803 on June 18, 2010

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