If there’s one thing I love, it’s a bargain. That’s probably not news to anyone who’s been paying attention.

I’ve scored some amazing deals at Goodwill in the past couple of months. Here’s my latest find:

Designer jacket. $7.49.

This was an extra good deal, because the jacket was marked 50% off the regular price of $14.99. I wore it today for the first time and got SO many compliments! I couldn’t seem to help but tell everyone that I paid $7.49 for it at Goodwill.

I was still feeling pleased with myself on the ride home, even though I wished I had worn a coat. It was chilly. For some reason, the bus was unusually crowded.

Shortly after I got on, a short, round, elderly man came slowly up the steps. He was wearing a large heavy-looking backpack and sat down without taking it off. The weight of the backpack pulled him backward, then he straightened up and ended up precariously tipped forward. A very tall thin man came and sat across from the backpack guy. He leaned toward him and spoke quietly. I sensed an intimate sweetness between them and thought maybe they knew each other.

A few stops later, the backpack man got off. “Nice to meet you,” said the tall guy. I had my eye on him; there was something appealing in his easy and open manner. I found myself wondering where he was going.

I noticed the man waiting at the door as my stop came up, then I followed him down the steps. Maybe, I thought, he’s going to Fred Meyer. But he turned the other way and we were both standing at the corner waiting for the light to change. He was heading right into my neighborhood.

“I thought it was supposed to be summer!” I said. “Well, that was yesterday,” he said with a smile, “but I’m from LA. I love this weather!” Then he looked at me and said, “I really like your jacket. It’s really nice.” “Thank you!” I said. “I got it at Goodwill!”

The light changed and we crossed the street together. He told me he had just turned in an application to work at Goodwill. “You live around here?” I asked.

No, he was combing the neighborhood looking for gardening jobs. “What I do,” he said, “is I see a yard that needs my help. Then I write them a letter and tell them what I think is needed. Like, I’ll say, ‘I noticed that the northwest corner of your property is infested with ivy’.” We stopped at the next corner, where there was an overgrown rock garden. “Like this place here,” he said. “This place is a mess.” He took his notebook out.

“Well, I have something I’d like to give you,” I told him. He stopped and looked at me. I told him about my mother and wanting to break myself of my cheapskate habits. “Is there somewhere we can sit?” he asked. “I’m so intrigued by your presentation.”

There wasn’t anyplace to sit, so we stood together on the sidewalk. He said his name was Mark. I told him I was passing along a gift. Then I took out a hundred and handed it to him.

He looked at the bill and then he stared at me. And stared. I’ve gotten a lot of stares in the past nine months, but this was a beauty. Then he whispered, “God bless you.”

We had a long talk. He asked if I was a Christian, then if I believe in God. He told me his favorite books of the bible and that he loves to write. He said he was late on the rent and that the money would really help him out. And he did the most surprising thing. He wrapped me in a big hug and kissed the top of my head.








Tagged with:

2 Responses to Meeting Mark

  1. Renee says:

    Smart man…. he must have seen the jauntily perched halo sitting there.

  2. Anne says:

    I have been just enchanted by your website. This may be my favorite entry thus far.

    Thank you so much for your acts of kindness, and for reaching outside of yourself. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us at large. Thank you for inspiring me! I am so glad I came across your site.

    I wish you all the best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.