2000 by Filomena Borsellino

This essay has earned the 3 Gees of Glory AwardI am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology.  The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called "Smile."

The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I thought, this would be a piece of cake,

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was "smiling".

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, "Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.

Four Self-Defense Tips
To Protect Your Life, and Your Kids 

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally deficient and the blue eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford.

(If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot.

I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you." I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope."

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me, Honey. To give me hope."  

We held hands for a moment and at that time we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.

When you can give nothing else,
give a smile

the end

Filomena Borsellino

The above contribution came to me through

People will forget what you said.
People will even forget what you did,
will ever forget how you made them feel.

Our flag represents a living country
and is itself
considered a living thing

I (Lin Stone) also add my testimony here from the other side of the coin:  My own time of being homeless lasted 8 years; I never once asked for help, though I will always appreciate the McDonald's on Broadway in North Little Rock for not locking the dumpster at night, and for not turning the homeless away from the warmth inside even when they had no money, not even for coffee. 

To those with desires to do more for the homeless I add: It is the giver who receives the largest blessing when some heart is touched to mercy.

During those times when I became flush with health long enough to earn money I would always ask Heavenly Father to send someone to me that I could help. It was a blessing which He never denied me.

Strange, all those years of being homeless and not once did Father send someone to me when I was too broke to even feed myself.

One time years later, my new wife and I pooled our money with a Navajo Hitaali and his wife and went to dinner at a fairly good restaurant to celebrate an achievement we had jointly reached.   As we came near the restaurant this well-dressed young boy approached us, asking for money to eat on.

We literally had no money for ought save that meal, all of us being unemployed at that time.  I, being last in line, saw the back of each person in our group as they turned him away empty handed.  When he came to me I told him to wait there, I would bring money out for him. 

Inside I asked my wife for the money my meal would have cost.  Then I took my share of money outside and gave it to the young man.

As I came back and sat down, my wife protested: "The way he was dressed, the way he talked, he wasn't really hungry.  He will just spend it on drink."

"You don't know hungry," I told her as I stood up to hide my tears. 
"You, don't, know, hungry."

I hurried outside to stand beneath the stars and hide my stream of tears while I remembered the many faces of hungry.  The medicine man came out to stand beside me.  He too looked at the stars for a long time.  Then he said, "I know you were right.  He was hungry but I had nothing to share.  I will share my meal with you if you will share your gift to him with me."

Such a deal!  There was hozho at our table that night as all of us shared our food as if from a common pot.

The Christian's
Self Improvement Kit

Like my wife, many people have this strange idea the homeless have no home, and have only rags to wear.  The homeless do have homes, even if it is only a grate to lie upon or an abandoned car to crawl under. 

Professional beggars can dress in rags and hold their hands out for your money.  No matter how dirty they dress, they aren't hungry.  Some of the homeless still have suits to wear; hunger hits hard long before that suit has a chance to wear out.  Some of the homeless I've met or associated with did wear suits even though they cut their own hair and bathed in the McDonald's sink after midnight to retain what was left of their self respect. 

When I see hunger in the eyes of those who don't ask is when I make extra efforts to see they are nourished. When I see the sting of hunger in the eyes of those who do ask for money to buy food with I try to spare the time to eat with them.  But I try not to judge those who ask for food from me but freely give at least some of what I have.  Having been given much, I too must give.  As the Book of Mormon asks, "Are we not all beggars?"

It took support from both my state's U.S. Senators to get the medical help I needed from the VA, then two more years to recuperate.  As I found my way back to more permanent health and financial security I searched through the whole phone book where I lived at that time.  I called every physician in the book to ask if they treated the needy for free in their offices.  Not one doctor there offered free service to the homeless.  After I had written the story of this search, but before I published it, a podiatrist returned my call to clarify his staff's response to my question. -- "I don't treat the homeless here in the office." 

He paused for a long moment, wondering if he wanted to continue.   "It would make me feel like a hypocrite to be doing alms before my other patients.  Instead, I go out one day a week, finding those homeless on the streets where they are who stand in need of my professional help."

When he found them, the podiatrist would wash their feet, work on their sores, bind up their wounds, and bring them to the nearest cafe to sup at his table.

This man gave more than love, and more than hope; he gave back dignity and self respect where it was needed.

"When you can give nothing else,
give a smile"

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