The Coffee Shop Stranger

We were sitting at a coffee shop only a week ago. A man timidly walked over, stopped a good distance from us, almost intentionally trying not to intimidate; at the same time seemingly embarrassed.

He said, excuse me sir. I looked over at a man who had sorrow in his eyes, who clearly had better days.

He said, I don’t have any gas in my car to get home. I drove all the way over here for my job and didn’t stop because I didn’t want to be late. I have money but it’s in my wife’s account, I only need $10.

She can e-transfer you the money, I just need your email address. Like anyone else, a million thoughts ran through my head. Is this a scam, what does he really want. Should I give him my email address?

He handed his phone over to me, I took it. Then I looked down at my wallet which had a good amount of cash in it. I looked back at him, as he swallowed his pride wearing tattered clothing.

I looked at Dorothy and she instantly knew what I was asking. She smiled and nodded. I reached into my wallet, folded the $10 bill, placed it on his phone and handed both back to him.

He looked confused. He said, no you need to put your email address into my phone so we can transfer you the money. I smiled and said, no I don’t. Still confused he pushed the phone back into my hand.

When I pushed back he realized what I was doing. He half reached out, not sure if he should take the cash along with his phone. Tears welled up in his eyes as he shook his head in disbelief.

I said it’s Christmas, Dorothy said, please take it. He covered his mouth holding back tears, said thank you and ran out the door.

Dorothy said, that was nice of you, my reply, and that was nice of you.

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