Expect the Unexpected

Leslie - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I had had a tough year. Puberty, drama, and just life in general came up from behind and started to be too much for my seventh grade self to handle. My mother, who knows me better than anyone else, decided that it would be a good idea to go to South Beach and stay at my uncle’s condo for the beginning of Thanksgiving Break. As my sister, my mom, and I were soaking up the sun as we lay on the sand, I spotted a homeless man lying in the midst of everyone around him, with blankets covering the entirety of his body.

Looking at him, I tried to imagine what had happened to make him alone in this world. Did he lose all of his money from gambling or substances? How long had he been homeless? Questions traveled in and out of my mind as the wave shifted from high to low tide and the time quickly passed. I remembered that we had brought some apples with us to the beach and I so desperately wanted to give him one, but my paranoia got the best of me. I didn’t know this man, so I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I would be safe in his presence. Finally I gave him the benefit of the doubt and grabbed one of the apples before I could stop myself.

Walking over to his resting spot, my stomach had butterflies and my heart was racing. But, as I reached my hand out to his, I looked into his darkened eyes and saw the sadness but gratitude he was showing. When I sat down again with my family, and started reading a book for school, I made a quick glance over to this man, and was taken aback from what I was seeing. There he was, with nothing but the blankets surrounding him and the bags of cans beside him, and he was sharing the apple I had given to him with the birds. Being only thirteen, I had never witnessed someone so selfless in my life.

After seeing this mans action, I now believe in selflessness. In our day and age, we are taught to help ourselves before others and to find a way to reach the top. So it is a rarity to find someone who will share with the people around them even at their weakest and most painful moments. This homeless man, in clothing that was tattered and torn, who had nowhere to stay, is the true essence of being selfless. Even though he has little, he always has something to share with the world around him.