This morning, I was watching the news and they reported on an organization right around the corner that had few toy donations. They said that they may actually have to turn away children in need. I almost cried.
I still remember years ago when my mother was in the military that some mysterious philanthropic donor bought toys for the children on the Presidio. Despite being 14, I got a Teddy Ruxpin teddy bear that read stories to me. I had wanted one for most of my childhood but we could never afford it.I kept that teddy bear well into my 20s. It is still one of the best memories I ever had. Every time I looked at it. I would remember that someone in San Francisco cared about military families so much that I got a teddy bear my family couldn’t afford.
Returning to today, I was about to walk back to work when I was approached by a young lady as I stood under the Twitter sign texting my co-worker to see if they could put out a fire instead. The young lady asked if I had money for warm soup. I don’t know why I pulled out my wallet. I don’t normally do that, but all I had was twenties so I told her to follow me to Walgreens across the street and I’d get change. I bought a pack of gum, got some change, and then handed her some money. I would have taken her to buy the soup and maybe a sandwich myself, but I was late getting home to my daughter.
In our few minutes together, she showed me her two black eyes. She’d been jumped from behind and robbed. She was actually from the local area, but wasn’t able to get home. She told me her mother was sending her a ticket to come home. As we exited, Walgreens she reminded me to tuck my money away and asked for a hug. She said simply, “Keep me in your prayers”. Apparently, I wasn’t meant to go back to work. I was meant to meet this woman.
When I got home, I asked my mom if she’d see the story about the Davis Street Community Center. She said yes. I told her we had to go shop, and asked who had the best price on toys this year. We ended up in Walgreeens with my daughter. I explained to O that she was choosing toys for kids less fortunate than her. That without kids like her, there would be no Christmas for them. She made her best toy choices, and in no time flat, the cart was full. We took them to the counter and paid.
At the community center, I let my daughter take in one of the toys, as I took an armful through the doors. My daughter put the toys in the barrel proudly. I don’t know if she will remember this in the years to come, but I hope that she does. I hope that she remembers that Christmas means to be giving of oneself and resources. When we are fortunate to have all we need and sometimes more, we should help others.
This was a bad day, well at work, it was. The best part of today was coming home to be a blessing to others. I don’t want anything from today other than a hope I will encourage others to give what they can. We can all give someone their own “Teddy Ruxpin” that will change their lives for the better for a long time to come.