A couple months ago, I picked up a friend from the airport for a girl's weekend.
It was early.
We were meeting other friends for brunch but due to her early arrival, we both needed a Starbucks.
We pulled into the intersection driving my new fancy car and waited for the light to change. Next to us was a homeless man. My friend grabbed her wallet.
"Crap, I don't have any cash," She said, "Usually I have granola bars in the car to give out. Do you have anything?"
"Really?" I said, "This is all just a ploy. Do you know how much these people make? He owns this block. This is a good block too."
I stopped myself. "I sound like an asshole, don't I?"
"Oh no." she said, "We are just riding in your Mercedes to get $5 coffees before we go to brunch and you are criticizing the homeless man."
I love my friend for this. And so I took this to heart and made a metal note to change.
The next week I pulled into Starbucks and saw a man with a sign that said, Coffee?
I thought of my friend and my attempt to less Assy.
So I ordered my coffee and ordered the man on the corner a coffee too.
"Milk and sugar?" The Barista asked
I thought about being on the streets, being hungry and needing calories. Of course milk and sugar!
"Yes please. And I'll take a bacon gouda sandwich too." Because bacon gouda sandwiches are delicious. And if I did not have a place to go, I would covet a bacon gouda sandwich.
I stopped at the man at the corner.
"Hey! I got you a coffee." I pulled it out. "I wasn't sure but I had them add milk."
He looked at me and wrinkled his nose. "I can't drink this. I'm lactose intolerant. Do you know what this will do to me?"
Oh. My. Stink....literally.
"Well then, I guess you can't have this sandwich."
"Does it have milk products?"
"It's a cheese."
"Oh no, hell no. Do you know what that will do to me?"
I handed him a dollar and wished him luck.
I also called my friend.
She laughed and said that's what I get for being a part of Boulder county. She also told me not to give up.
At work I told my story and tried to pawn off a bacon gouda sandwich. A co-worker went into detail about what happens when a lactose intolerant person consumes milk.
"It's not pretty," she said, "And not having direct access to a bathroom? I can't imagine. He made a good choice."
"Whatever." I said, "Do you want a bacon gouda sandwich?"
"No, I just ate."
Today I pulled out of the grocery store. A man stood at the intersection. He held a sign that said, "Put some cheese on my cracker!"
I assumed he was NOT lactose intolerant because he spoke about cheese so enthusiastically. I thought of my friend and the granola bars in her minivan and I stopped.
"I don't have any cash," because I don't, truly, I never do, "but would you like a yogurt?"
I held out a Noosa Peach Yogurt.....the very best yogurts of yogurts.
"I would love a yogurt," he said, "Thank you. You have a fantastic day."
I drove off reminding myself to buy granola bars. Because giving back does feel good. And because you know.....lactose.