The Gift of Giving

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

~ Booker T. Washington

To be quite honest, sharing was never an easy endeavour for me. Since I was a young lad, I hated it when people borrowed my things and broke them or failed to return them. I like to think I take good care of my belongings, and it annoys me when people fail to do the same. This is something I have definitely worked on in the last few years, and today, as I was shopping downtown, I realized I have made the 180 degree turn I so desired.

About 3 years ago, I was at a Shoppers Drug Mart in the inner city. It was Christmas Day, and I was sent to the one open pharmacy in town to pick up a prescription. My family is fortunate enough live in Canada and not have to pay for medical services, and so I came empty handed, expecting to pick up my package and get home ASAP so I could enjoy the gifts I received that day. As I waited in queue, there was a man in front of me, maybe in his 40s or 50s, who was in conversation with the pharmacist. I soon realized this man was lacking medical coverage and could not afford the eye medication he had come for. Distraught, the man left the pharmacy, and I watched him as he talked frantically on his phone, presumably about the situation. I felt compelled to do something. And so I went outside and asked the man how much his prescription was; he told me 25 dollars. I walked across the street, took out 60 dollars, and wished him a Merry Christmas. I don’t know what condition this man had, or why he wasn’t able to afford the medication. I didn’t know anything about him. But the gratitude he showed towards me is something I will never forget and has traveled with me to this day.

I am not looking for praise or admiration (although both are nice). The moral of the story is that there are no requirements for giving. There are no boundaries of age, socio-economic status or ethnicity that prevent one from giving to another. And so we should all remember to give back, even to those who we don’t know or feel compelled to give to. When I see homeless people on the street, I don’t always have money to give them; frankly at this point in the semester I’m quite broke. But even a smile or cheerful greeting can go a long way for someone who spends their days watching the world move without them. The gift of giving is the greatest gift you can give yourself: we should all try it at least once!


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