One night I was getting my things out of my car when a petite, middle-aged Asian woman approached me. “Do you have a dollar?” She asked.
Surprised by her intrusion of my space, I said, “I’m sorry. I don’t.” She tried to confirm that I didn’t have a dollar on me. “I’m sorry,” I repeated.
I saw her approaching another woman with the same question. “I don’t usually have cash on me,” the other woman replied, walking away, not making eye contact.
As I made my way toward my destination, I saw that the asker was heading in the same direction in front of me.
A donut shop came into view. Suddenly feeling altruistic, I thought, maybe she’s hungry, maybe I do have a dollar, I do have a credit card. Hey, if she’s hungry, I can get her a donut!
As I walked up to her, she was taking a discarded plastic bottle out of a garbage can she just uncovered.
“What do you need a dollar for?” I asked.
“To get a calling card.”
Though a bit thrown off by her response, I probed for more details. In her broken English, she explained that she already had four dollars. She just needed one more dollar to purchase a calling card, which she would use to call her family in the Philippines.
“How many calls can you make with the calling card?” I asked.
She replied that it would get her 13 minutes on the phone with her family.
“Well, I was going to use my credit card …” I muttered, taking out my wallet, and started digging for cash.
“It’s okay,” she said, meaning: “Don’t worry about it.”
I took out a dollar and handed it to her.
“Be sure to call your family,” I said as I put my wallet away, secretly hoping that she was telling the truth. With such detail? Probably.
“I will,” she said.
People can surprise you – if you give yourself a chance to get to know them.
“What do you need a dollar for?”
I bet not a lot of people have asked her this question. Most likely walked away without a second thought.
Everyone has a story. I don’t know what this woman's whole story is. But by being genuinely curious, asking questions, and listening, I briefly connected with her and potentially helped her connect with her family 7,431 miles away.
In the spirit of giving,
Joanne Chen, M.A.
Certified Professional Coach
Certified Professional Intuitive Coach
True Purpose® Trained Coach
Joanne Chen, MA, CPC
Leadership & Life Coach for Ambitious Women, specializing in: