The Boston Common area is very pretty. It is a sprawling green space dotted with monuments, a large playground and carousel, and a plethora of self-employed individuals trying to make the most of a day’s work. I have never seen such self-motivated “beggars” in any place I’ve ever visited. We passed quite a few individuals accepting change, however, each one worked for it. From the singing man shaking his jar of coins in harmony with his request to the gentleman shouting out the scores of the previous evening’s ballgame along with weather updates, I was impressed.
Most incredibly was a man leaning against a tree offering truthful responses in exchange for a coin or two. He said not a word, but rather had a sign offering his service. He was in an obscure position, almost blending in with the tree he was leaning against. My children noticed all the coins and dollars that littered the path, never so much as noticing the man beside the loot. With a joy that only a sidewalk full of potentially unclaimed money could bring to a bunch of kids, they began kneeling down to gather coins and dollar bills by the fistfuls! It took a few moments to get the kids attention and explain that the money belonged to the man against the tree.
They were clearly disappointed that a money cloud in fact had not opened up just for them, but were putting the money back as we instructed. But this fine young man told the kids to take the money and drop it down the way into the bucket of another fellow. Ironically, he said the other man was in greater need. It was one of the most generous examples of giving I’ve ever witnessed. The coins we gathered and dropped into the elderly gentleman’s can taught a most humble lesson of who was truly in need that day. It was us.