The Intermittent Volunteer’s Weblog

Befriending People in Dallas Who Are Homeless

The Capitalist March 19, 2008

Filed under: and a little child shall lead them,homelessness,hunger,inspiration — Karen Shafer @ 5:39 pm

My five-year-old grandson, Louis, has an entrepreneurial streak. This past weekend, his mother (my daughter) called me and said, “He is sitting on the front porch with his old beat-up red fireman’s helmet and a sign reading $5.88, trying to sell the helmet to people walking by! Should I make him come inside?” Then, the next day, he had added his well-used child’s yellow construction hard hat to the venue, and the price for the two had gone up to $22.67! “I don’t need these any more,” he told his parents.

This fondness for cash makes all the more remarkable what he had done the previous week. He phoned me to say he had something for me, asking if I would come by their house on my way home to pick it up. When I arrived, he presented me with an envelope which had “Karen” written on the outside. I knew this was important business, because he always calls me “Gaz”, a name he began to call me as a toddler which has become my official grandma name.

In the envelope was a five dollar bill and two quarters, enclosed with the following letter, written out in his careful cursive-and-print-combo handwriting, with wonderful phonetic spelling:


I was unbelievably touched by his generosity and thoughtfulness, which was completely his own idea. It’s all the more remarkable because his total savings at that point was $18, much of which he’d worked hard for by raking leaves and doing other chores for his family.

I asked him, “Do you want me to take this money and buys some socks with it and give them to people?” “No,” he said, “I want you to give them the money directly.”

When you think of it, $5.50 is an embarrassment of riches. It will buy Donna a cup of coffee at McDonald’s, which she loves to have to warm herself up at bedtime. It will purchase a copy of StreetZine from Gordon. And there will be still be some left over for whatever special person comes along with a need or a wish.


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