The Value Of A Toonie

The value of a toonie to some may be a cup of java in the morning.  Others it maybe the newspaper and still to others it may just be a single coin waiting for a collection of them to go towards whatever value they personally place in exchange for money.

What’s a toonie worth to you?  I can assure you, more than $2.

Today to me, a toonie’s value is a loaf of bread.

You have all walked, as I did today, through the familiar steps of after finding a quarter, inserting it in the slot that will release the chain, enabling us the convenience of using a shopping cart.  THAT in itself displays the value of the quarter.  Is your life not easier because of the shopping cart when you have more than the 9 items?

You all as well have walked through the familiar request for “please Miss, a dollar”?

As he asked me that and mentioned it was for food, I made a very short and quick eye contact and claimed “no, I don’t have any”.  “Ya, sure”, I thought, “food, right.  Probably heading to the local LCBO” I decided in my mind.

Having said “no” a little more often than I care to admit, I went about picking up some of the weeklies that we needed.

Now, I do my share of “giving back” but sometimes, just sometimes I think/thought, we all need to do some something we don’t like, especially when it comes to putting food on the table.  It’s ALL about choices.  (more on THAT a bit later)

As we waited in line of a very busy grocery store I looked to the next isle.  There he is with a small carry size basket with only 3 or 4 things.  Of one of the items I saw was a big bottle of pop.  “Ok, cut him some slack, we all have our thing of sinful enjoyment”.  I was then struck by the very fact that outside when he said he needed money for food, he was being honest.

I watched him from an isle over.  “Although his eyes (the window to the soul) look very weary and worried, he was clean” my mind assessed.  I opened my wallet and took out a toonie.  For you non-Canadians, that’s our coin version of $2.  As I walked over and tapped him on the shoulder, he almost jumped out of his skin which caused me to almost jump out of my skin.  He politely apologized as I said “here” and gave him the coin. Of course he smiled and thanked me.   In proceeding to unload my cart onto the belt I looked over.  He was gone.

Do you think my ever so skeptical mind would just be quiet!!!!!  “Oh, sure.  Man he’s good.  Asks for money comes into the store, then takes off once he has enough for a bottle”.  In looking away, then back, he is there……..with a loaf of bread!  My heart sank for me and my utter complete doubt in his sincerity.  Just as quickly as he was there, then gone, then back again my mood changed.  I was so thrilled and delighted that he had nourishment for the week.  Wow, something to me that would have just sat in my wallet for a week made a difference to someone else.

I cried as I left the store and shared the story with my daughter who was oblivious to all of this while busily bagging the groceries.

By the time we got back to the van my mind was made up.  Yes, I have another toonie in my wallet with his name on it.  Unload the cart and proceed to where the carts are lined up in a row.  “Not only the toonie, but the quarter from this cart, is his as well” I decided.  At the very instant, WHAT catches my eye  on the ground, but a penny!  You guessed, his collection is growing.

Have you ever made a statement/conviction then all of sudden a test appears to REALLY test your sincerity?  It happens to me all the time.  As I get in the van and share what I am going to do with my daughter, she points out the gentleman across the parking lot.  He was walking very swiftly.  “I got to hurry”.  Yet another, “right at that very moment” times; a stream of cars, which have the right of way, processes in front of me.

Safely through the parking lot, then a green light for oncoming traffic.  “Oh geesh!”.  As I look to my left, there he is, still walking swiftly.  As I wait for the flow of cars to move on, I notice two young boys having a scuffle right near our soon to be new friend.  Thank goodness for little boys and their silliness.  He stops to straighten it all out.  WE MADE IT!

Rolling down the window my daughter calls him over, he comes willingly.  She hands him the money.  He cries.  I ask his forgiveness in my judging him back at that cart line.

He…….just…proceeds…to…give…thanks…to……God while being all choked up.

My daughter has on numerous occasions recently given to street people.  She will and does openly even if it is just a quarter.  In return, she takes the time and simply asks “what’s your story”, just as she did with Jimmy right now.  As he shows us where he lives and shares in the unfolding of his story of the last 24-48 hours, I see all at once; fear, relief, gratefulness, hope.

I hope your still reading because the biggest lessons are to come.

LESSON 1:  Never, ever, really EVER judge anyone.  Perhaps a good time to have a re-listen to Amanda Marshall’s  Everybody’s Got a Story.  I use to think that 100% of our lives and where we are, are in direct relation to OUR choices.  In meeting so many people lately and hearing their story, sh&% happens and it happens to people.  For some it is a series of “unfavorable” circumstances that has them in a food line or living in a shelter.  Heck it can even be YOUR neighbor.  There is a huge population that is the “working poor”, just one paycheck away from “skid row”.

LESSON 2: SLOW down.  It is really great that you give to the lady or man asking, but slow down and take 2 min and ask “what’s your story”?  Look into their eyes.  Feel their pain for just a minute.

LESSON 3:  Give what you can.  A toonie in your wallet may mean a loaf of bread for a week for a family.  It’s not just the ache in their belly that is being filled.  It’s the hope, trust and faith in humanity and their world that is being fed.

LESSON 4:  YOU do make a difference in this world.  Be the best that you can with your talents, finances, time.  Abundance gets a bad rap.  Whether it be in money or time, chances are you’re the sort of person that has a sense of meaning and purpose in your day.  That same purpose will just be magnified 10 fold and you will, just as you were born to breathe, pass along to enhance anothers quality of life.




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