Greater Than Gold

by russtowne

As I sat eating my meal
Alone in my thoughts and cares
I noticed a little girl
Turn her head and briefly stare

She saw a homeless man with a hopeless look
Who’d been hungry for far too long
Her eyes grew sad from what she saw
Then she whispered to her mom

I don’t know what she said
As she pointed to him
But when her mom smiled
There was joy in her eyes again

The girl’s hands held coins
She’d counted every penny
It was her allowance
And she didn’t drop any

She placed her treasure on the counter
Ordered a meal for a man in need
Fidgeted a bit as she waited for it
So anxious to do the kind deed

He looked up in surprise
And when he saw what she held
His eyes moistened a bit
And his heart seemed to melt

He took her gift and gave his thanks
They smiled then she walked away
It’s a good bet I’ll never forget
The way I felt that day

My heart grew lighter
For inside I knew
That his spark of life and spirit
Had grown a bit brighter too

I learned a lot from that little girl
Who was less than nine years old
How a simple act of kindness
Can be a gift that is greater than gold.

–Russ Towne

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12 Comments to “Greater Than Gold”

  1. How absolutely beautiful ! Matthew 25 comes to mind. Beautifully written !

  2. Thank you for your kind comments, Deborah. I appreciate how supportive you have been of my writing efforts.
    Russ

  3. is this a song? It very well could be.

    When I was a consultant in downtown Cleveland I would often leave at 11:30 PM or later, and nearby the homeless guys would always camp out over the steam vents to keep warm. I would always flip the guy a 10 or 20 for a meal and hope he wouldn’t go get his next fix. One time I came out and I flipped the guy a tenner when another homeless guy came out and they started fighting over the money. It was like I wasn’t there, and they fought savagely for a couple minutes when the aggressor took the money and stalked off. Haven’t given a handout to a panhandler since.

    • Thank you, Bill. I’m considering writing a version for a song lyric that includes a twist at the end where it turns out the man who is relating the story is the man who received the meal years ago. Thank you for your suggestions and comments.

      I honor you for what you did and tried to do for those warmed by the steam vents and your kindness.

      I prefer to provide food, drink, clothing, or umbrellas for homeless people rather than money. In that way, I believe it is more likely they will use the items for the intended purpose.

      Russ

  4. It is often in children we see the most genuine acts of kindness…this is very very good Russ

  5. This is beautifully written and incredibly moving. Children haven’t been taught to be cynical yet. There’s a German proverb that goes something like ‘Charity sees only the need, not the cause’. Actually, I wondered if that twist was going to happen in the poem, about the voice speaking the poem being the man who received the gift. Do write the song:-)

    • Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement. The “twist” almost did happen in the poem, but because I wrote it in tribute to that little girl (who is now an adult by the way) and her mother who is a dear friend whom I’ve never met in person, I decided to forego that embellishment for the initial version.

      I like very much the proverb you mentioned.

      It reminds me of another saying that I love: “Kindness is love in action.” I heard it from a friend named Bill (yes, the very same Bill of Poet’s Corner fame), and I liked it so much that I shamelessly stole the phrase as my life’s motto. (I figure he won’t miss it because he’s so talented he’ll be able to come up with a lot more for himself and others.) ;-D!

      Russ

  6. what we can learn from children!

    • So true! I’ve learned much from my children, and am now back in school with a grandchild, with twin grandchildren on the way. With all those teachers, I can’t help but get educated eventually! ;-D!
      Russ

  7. Loved your poem. Warmed my heart. Definitely write the song

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