Perspective takes many forms. Today it presented as a reason to stop on our walk back from lunch.

I’d just finished grabbing a quick bite with my husband on this busy Friday, the end of a week brimming with back-to-back commitments and little time to do more than task master our way through.

As we began the walk back to our respective offices, we prattled on about plans for spring and summer.

Prioritizing money, vacation time, and other logistics seemed vitally important, until a gentle soul spoke to us, just outside the last bank of restaurants on the block.

He was cold, hungry, and embarrassed to be asking for a meal.

Thirty minutes later, he’d relaxed. We’d settled into a restaurant nearby and enjoyed a conversation of mutual respect and shared dignity for one another, without a trace of martyrdom, judgment, or shame on either side.

This man has an associate’s degree, a firm handshake, and the grit to better his present circumstances. I believe he will.

Before parting ways, we pre-paid for his dinner at another spot, and gave him specifics about how to apply for a job opening nearby. He brightened and told us how nice it was to receive just a little information.

This wasn’t charity.

It was treating someone in our path like a worthwhile human being.

Cynics will cry foul and say we did him no favors. Let them.

Two meals and a conversation may do precious little to puncture somebody else’s losing streak, but that’s no reason not to try.

One of my favorite quotes is from Emily Ann Saliers, one half of the folk/rock duo Indigo Girls.

“If I have a care in the world, I have a gift to bring.”

-Hammer and A Nail.

The gentleman we met today surely does. And I’m awfully glad we stepped outside ourselves long enough to notice.