“Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either” — Aesop
We make many assumptions about life. But there are times when the tiniest glimpse out of the corner of our eye can tell that there’s another side to the story.
Early this morning on my way to martial arts class I pulled up to a stoplight. To my left, unmoving, with head hanging low, an older bearded man sat alone with a cardboard sign. Late the night before I saw the same man in the same spot, sitting in the same position, with the same sign, and the same downcast expression. He looked as if he hadn’t moved.
The clock told me that I was ten minutes early to class. McDonald’s was directly across the street. Without much thought I pulled through the drive-thru and ordered a sausage biscuit and coffee. Five minutes later, I pulled back around to the same stoplight, rolled down my window and asked if he wanted some breakfast. Slightly startled, a much younger man than I saw before got up, took the sack with the biscuit and coffee. I nodded and pulled the car forward a couple feet, perhaps out of habit. Perhaps out of discomfort.
I sat only for a moment when I looked back over my shoulder and out the corner of my eye.
In that short moment, perhaps three or maybe five seconds, I could see the young man had buried his face in the sandwich, two hands engulfing the wrapper. When I looked again seconds later the sandwich was almost gone. A glimpse of Hunger.
We’re often taught … or at least I was always taught … that a cardboard sign on a street corner indicated a scam artist, a lunatic, or someone dangerous. Probably a criminal.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe the gentleman I met was nothing but a freeloader. Yet, a tiny glimpse told me that there is, perhaps, another side to the story.