It was well past happy hour, you could hear the dance tunes from the street and Hong Kong central was on fire! I don't' know what most fascinated me; the collage of skin hues and accents, the fashion spectrum of Australian outback to Prada or the mused scent of Thai Vietnamese cuisine covered in fresh baked bread. I was taking it all in.
I love to dance and this place drew us in with the beat. There was a high top table that sat between the restaurant/club and the street, it was perfect! We could hear the music behind us and people watch. We ordered a couple beverages and the server brought back our change on a little dish. It just sat there. As we talked, met people and took in the night, a very unassuming woman approached me. She was bent over maybe 4 ft if standing up straight. She was just close enough to get my attention but kept her distance as not to attract the attention of the bouncer.Her face was lined with a tapestry of arduous work. Her hands tiny, dragging a mid-size garbage bag filled with the catch of the day. I processed this at a glance. As she passes she's saying something to me, but she didn't look at me. Her eyes were fixed on our table. I was caught off guard; my response was "I don't understand." She bends her head and continues her shuffle hiding into the night.It wasn't until I looked down at my table that I saw our change - the tip that was left. That's what she wanted. Several things began to run through my mind; 1) I would have given her the money, 2) why wasn't she more clear, 3) where did she go, 4) I feel sad for her, 5) I want to help her.Bruce gets my attention and we look at something that makes us laugh. Then I hear a song, they're doing Salsa...I move to the dance floor. The crowd seems numb with the spirits of the night. They're feeling no pain. Many of their smiles cannot mask the emptiness behind their eyes. I feel something by my foot. I look down and it's a small broom and dust pan. It's another woman, and this one's an employee. She was the same height as the first and aged the same, but a uniform dresses up her journey. She was moving inconspicuously through the crowd picking up tissue, cigarette butts and mopping up happy hour drinks. No one saw her. Was anyone thinking what I was thinking? No one seemed to care or notice. Why did I?Was she a widow? Where are her children? Do those who know her hear her broom or the clanking of the earlier trash bag? I found myself in an "out of body" experience. I was dancing while scanning the club to inventory the state of affairs, trying to fix on a woman now escaping my view. (you know I have to say, I really know how to spoil a good time)Little did Bruce know, but I had had my fill of this hot spot. He was tired and I was glad we would retire for the night. Our walk back to the hotel included a recant of highlights for the day and occasional glances of empty bottles or cardboard boxes that would be a jackpot find for one little lady.The next day was full of site seeing. We stop by the mall equipped for the wealthy. The mall was only a few years old and it was four levels of designer "high end" shops an entertainer would die for. The mall reminded me of the Mall of America minus the duck and bird shops.It was time for dinner and we settled on chili crab from a Thai and Malaysian restaurant. The food was delicious! Another day for the prosperous was complete. As we headed back toward the hotel, my attention was on the street we needed to get to. Not paying much attention, I almost trip over this little lady. I bend down to apologize and realize it was the little lady that wanted the change on our table the previous night. She was easy to recognize because she had on the same clothes. I couldn't believe it! I reached into my pouch and pulled out a handsome tip. As she receives it, she noticed it was a larger bill and not the change she might anticipate. She looks up and reveals her black and rotten teeth with pride and gratitude. Her response was one of the worst english "Thank you" I've heard.I didn't make a fuss, smiled back and kept walking as not to draw much attention to us. I quickly prayed and hoped I'd be an answered prayer for her today.After my surge of joy, I began to think all these negative thoughts. What difference did I make? She doesn't even know who I am. That bill will help her, yet a temporary patch to the cancerous problem she faces. What had I really done? Nothing most would say. But within the same moment I was reminded of a quote, "when you do this to the least of these - it is done unto me."The sentiments of my heart were heard and this woman was found. This reminded me of the many opportunities I have to "Be" a light in the world, to help someone that cannot help themselves. My thinking was changed that day. I sensed people could feel a universal love expressed by my dispense. Love...it was an international language.As I prepared to return home my perspective had changed. I had begun to embrace my ability to show "Acts of Kindness" EVERYDAY in some way. I have the ability to change the world with my change. There are people all around me that need me to act - what will I dispense?Spiritual affirmation: I want grace to flow through me today. Let love be the river that directs my steps, guards my heart and renews my mind daily. Help me to trust what is right. May I know that every touch of love and grace I give serves as a channel of mercy.Article written for the "Acts of Kindness" campaign of 2008. Country Compass - Mobilizing the Nation Through Acts of Kindness and Service.
Notify me of follow-up comments
Copyright © 2011 Mission to Mobilization, LLC. | Site Map | Site By Source Media