Something happened this week that sparkled my thinking about giving and being charitable to others. While walking down Lexington Avenue, a man standing with a can asked passersby for spare change. Since ignoring is the norm in these situations, I was tempted to do the same. Most of us assume that the money is for liquor, reinforcing our instinct to keep on walking. Being that I didn’t have, I told him I had no change. To this, he replied: “Well…I would be just as happy if you bought me something to eat”. Coincidentally, I was heading into a café for coffee and a bagel so I told him I would. His silence reflected skepticism, but smiled anyway. I, being true to my word, ordered a sandwich for him, unbeknownst to his preference, figured he wouldn’t be too picky. While sitting at the window eating, I noticed him walking away; I wanted to run outside to give him his sandwich, but I was in the middle of eating and couldn’t grab my food fast enough to catch him. As he walked up the street repeating his repertoire with each passerby, I saw that he had no luck. Heading out of the café I wondered what I would do with the sandwich I bought for him, and that’s when I saw him returning to his original spot. I then ran up to him and said “here sir is your sandwich…I never break a promise”. His eyes lit up and, I kid you not, he started crying happy tears. He really just wanted something to eat.
A few days before this, I decided to use a ten dollar gas coupon I had to fill up the tank even though it was more than 3/4 full. Ultimately, the car only needed $7.00 to be filled completely. As the gas attendant went to give me the $3.00 I was owed, I told him to keep it. You would have thought I told him he won a trip to Europe! He was so appreciative. I guess most gas station attendants don’t get tipped too often!
These two separate incidents made me think about how good “I” felt afterward! Yes, I was kind, I was charitable, but I also felt so good myself! Why is that?
It is a fact that giving, leads to happiness. This is due to a “Helper’s High”, which psychologists explain as the release of endorphins that produce a mild version of the sensations one gets from drugs like morphine and heroin. So, being charitable to others also lowers stress hormones that cause unhappiness.
When focusing on making a positive difference through good deeds, we find ourselves forgetting about our problems since our energy gets channeled for a different purpose.
I believe that making a little effort at being more generous, whether it is with our time, our money, smiles, or even a handshake, our daily lives will be that much better because of it. Little things like letting someone get ahead of us in line, tipping that gas station attendant who took the initiative to wash the windshield, or even offering the person working and sweating on the street a cold drink. Sure, these things appear insignificant, but wow, can they make a huge difference in another person’s life as well as ours.
Let’s all do this! Next time, be generous, be charitable….you’ll love the feeling!!
By Susan Korwin
Executive Managing Director / Mireya Posada
Editor in Chief / Cesar Florez
LATINO SHOW MAGAZINE