Holiday spirit local style has its rewards

By John Toth

I was putting some items in my car in a grocery store parking lot when a middle-aged woman approached me, asking for a few dollars. She said she needed it for gas.

Being a typical guy, I kind of shrugged it off. It was unexpected to say the least. I just let her go on her way.

Then I started thinking. What if she really needs the money? My friend was on the phone while all this was happening, saying that she probably makes $1,200 a day going around asking for money.

But what if she doesn’t, and really is hard up for cash? And this is the holiday season, after all.

I pulled around as she was walking and met her by the store. I handed her $5. She couldn’t stop saying thank you. If she was pulling a scam on me, she was very good.
“You got ripped off,” my friend said.

Maybe. So what? I lost $5. It’s the holidays. I am spending money on stuff I don’t need, wrapping it in paper that will be recycled after one use. So, if I got taken for $5, so be it. Or maybe I made the difference between eating and not eating that night. Who knows?

“Would you go around in a parking lot asking for money?” I asked the friend. I wouldn’t. He wouldn’t either. So, why would anyone do it unless they were desperate?

One good deed deserves another. An hour later, my cell phone rang. On the other end was my son, Bobby, calling from Afghanistan. He is stationed there at the Bagram Air Force Base until early January. Yes, he’s almost out of there. For me, it couldn’t be quickly enough.

He called just to talk. He has a way of calling us like a local number. He sounded so clear, like he was just calling from a nearby city. We Sykpe a lot, but it was great to talk to him live. It will be greater to talk to him in person.

I went last week to take photos as the Military Moms and Wives of Brazoria County volunteers loaded care packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was nice to see all those people working for a great cause.

“How many packages are you sending out,” I asked Mary Moreno, who founded the group in 2003.

“I don’t know. I stopped counting at 1,000,” she replied. It turned out to be closer to 1,700.

The Birdsong Real Estate van was loaded from bottom to top, and volunteers started pulling their own trucks around to load those up as well. The packages were mailed to the troops from the Freeport Post Office.

One of those packages will go to Bobby.

Merry Christmas, dear readers. I hope Santa brings you everything you want.