Monday, February 6, 2012

"Light up, light up."

Song for this post: "Run" ~ Leona Lewis

Hey I just realized I haven't told you about my excursion into long distance, financially charged, quasi guardianship.

My office is in the heart of downtown Seattle. That means that we're all super busy, smug, office-obsessed aholes between the hours of well...always.  But it also means that we all have a pretty well developed guilt complex.  This makes downtown a PRIME location for outreach representatives to do business.

My gym is about 5 blocks from my office (well, one of my gyms because I'm one of those people you find annoying). I chose that gym because it's close enough to go on my lunches. I learned that habit from an old boss who was a long distance runner and I will be forever thankful for her teaching me healthy living habits.  Amazing lady. Anyway, the route from my office to the gym is a gauntlet of outreach representatives and how best to avoid them.  These people are paid to stand outside all day and accost passersby in an attempt to get them to donate monthly to a cause.  It's awesome that there are organizations that do that. But not so awesome that some of these college kids can be outlandishly abrasive.

About a month ago I passed one who, instead of begging me for a minute of his time, simply said, "Do you have time for an ettiquette test?"  I was genuinely late to get back to the office so I politely declined and wished him a good day to which he responded in sing song sort of way, "A+ for good manners! Have a great day!" It was such an unorthodox approach to get someone's attention that, days later, when I passed him again, I stopped and let him tell me about his charity.

Turns out he works for a charity that provides education to children in impoverished regions of the world. So I looked up the charity, it's political and religious affiliations, and tried to find scandals or misuses of money. Turns out they're pretty legit...and they're donation management is completely transparent. I was impressed. So I signed up.  Part of me did it to get him out of my hair. Part of me did it because, well, sometimes I just do random shit for fun.

My point? About 2 weeks later I got a package in the mail. There was a little girl's picture, her story, her age and stats and a letter she had written to me.  Her name is Nahomy and she lives in Honduras. Her mother, father, and 3 other siblings live in a 1 bedroom "hut".  She loves drawing and history and helping her mother with chores.

I couldn't help it. I started crying.

I'm one of the most self absorbed people I know (I keep a blog about me, for Pete's sake). And I realize it's just some random program where you send $25 a month to some far off place in the world. It's mostly bureaucratic. It's all paperwork.  But, in that moment, it wasn't paperwork to me. I helped someone. I got to see her face. I get to send her gifts and letters if I choose to. If I want, I can actually go visit her and spend time with her. If anything ever happened to her family, I could adopt her. It's kind of amazing what $25 can do.

What started out as a spur of the moment decision in insensitive, business-obsessed downtown Seattle ended up turning into my heart growing three sizes that day.

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