Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Note on Kindness

This post may not be about gaming, or anything else even remotely nerdy, but the idea of kindness can be shared and understood among all cultures. Though some details may be missing, this is the story of a homeless man named Tylil and my connection to him.

I first met Tylil about five months ago. He was sitting outside the Rite-Aid near my college campus. He said hi to me, and asked me how I was doing. He and I started talking, and I was surprised because he wanted to talk to me, and wasn't just asking for money. He shared his life story with me, including his arrest history, his medical conditions, and family situations. He didn't hide the things he did wrong. He told me about his daughter, his living conditions, where he went to church and about the positive interactions with specific Temple University police officers.  He also rapped for me, a song that he wrote, and then broke it down and explained it to me, and explained the story that inspired the song. I sat and talked with him for about half an hour, then after I picked up what I needed, I gave him some money and a bottle of water. After that, every time I saw him, I gave him something. Always a bottle of water, and when I could, I helped him with groceries and occasionally bought a little treat for his daughter. He was always appreciative and thankful, never harassing, and never asked for more when I gave him something. He even shared with me when he had job prospects, and promised me one time the next time I saw him he would be doing better. Well, the next time I saw him, he was wearing cleaner clothes, smelled better, and was so proud of himself for keeping his promise. He wanted to show me that what I was doing for him was going to a good cause. There were times when others saw me helping him and complimented me for it. I can only hope they were inspired to help someone too.

Because of all of my interactions with him, I knew I had to do something for him and his daughter for Christmas. Because of financial difficulties, I couldn't do what I wanted to do. Since before Thanksgiving, every time I walked past the Rite-Aid I hoped I would see him so that I could do something for him and his daughter. As time continued to go by and I hadn't seen him, I started to doubt that I would. Finally, today, exactly one week until Christmas, I saw him on my way to the store (which happens to be across the street from the Rite-Aid). I didn't make it known to him that I saw him, and went to the store to pick up the one thing I needed - milk. But while I was there, I spent an extra $15, the last of the money in my bank account, to get him and his daughter something for Christmas. I got a little container of chocolate covered pretzles for both of them. For his daughter, I got a little princess craft set and a little activity pad and crayons, both of which I packaged in a little gift bag with Santa on it. I went over to where he was sitting, and while waiting to cross the street, and until I got to him, I could see/hear him wishing every person who walked into the store "Happy Holidays". This in itself made me happy because he wasn't asking anybody for money. Just wishing that people enjoy the holidays. I walked up to him, and when he recognized me he said "hey, how are you?" and shook my hand. I greeted him in the same way (the same greeting we had every time we saw each other) and then gave him the grocery bag with the gifts, as well as $5. He was so incredibly appreciative and told me he would have been more than happy without the money, and that he was so glad he had something to give his daughter for Christmas because he was worried about that. I explained to him that I had been hoping to do something for him and looking for him for about a month, and told him it wasn't what I wanted to do, but I had to do something. At that point in time, he got up from where he was sitting and hugged me. He told me it didn't matter if I did nothing at all, and that the thought alone meant so much to him. He told me there was another Temple student who had done similar, which I fully believe because if you take just five minutes to talk to this man, you can't not help him. There is just something about him that is more real that I have ever seen.

The best part is this: He looked in the bag, and saw the containers of pretzels and his face lit up. He told me that chocolate pretzels are one of his daughters favorite things to eat, and she was going to be extremely happy with them and the fact that they were star shaped. He then told me every time he takes something home for him and his daughter and she asks where it came from, he says "The Angel". Today, and many days for the past couple of months, I have helped this man and his daughter, though I have never met her. Today, I took some stress off of him because at the very least he can give her something for Christmas. Today, this man who looks so small and frail from a distance, but who has such a kind heart and is always beaming with pride about his daughter made my day. When ever he takes her something I gave to them, he simply tells her that it came from the Angel, and that he tells her to tell the angel she says thank you. And he told me today that I am their Angel.

I never expected to gain anything from helping this man and his young daughter, but today he gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. Without knowing it, he gave me hope. With all that I have been fighting with in my personal life recently, him looking up at me and saying "you are our angel" just made me feel so much better. Knowing I'm making a difference in his life, and in the life of a little girl I have never met, and probably never will meet, makes me feel like there is hope in this world. This man, who has a very difficult life, and who does everything for this little girl, gave me the best Christmas present ever. A hug from a stranger, and kind words when needed the most makes a much greater impact than I ever expected. He wished me a Merry Christmas many times, and as I turned away, I heard him continue to wish others walking by a Happy Holiday.

To you, reader, I hope that you can do some kind act whenever the opportunity presents itself. You may find someday, that you will be repaid in the most unexpected way possible. Everybody needs a helping hand at one point or another. And no matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, or even if none at all, I wish you find hope and happiness somewhere in life.


  1. That is an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. Very proud of you. Love you

    1. You're welcome, and thank you Kourtney. Love you too