anything helps

June 30th, 2013

In much of the country today it is really hot, and anything helps.

I’m usually in the center lane when I stop at this light, ready to shoot straight through the intersection on green.

Most days there is someone or another on the corner with a sign. I don’t always turn my head, but today I knew I had a dollar in my purse.

He was old – probably not as old as he looked. It was sunny today, hot. He was sunburned and dirty. I rolled down the window and he came right over.

Thank you, bless you, he said, his face crumpled.

Thank you, sir, I answered, and rolled the window back up.

When the light turned he was back on the corner, waving at me. I waved back.

He blew a kiss and cupped his hand to his heart. I saw the sign then. It read, “Anything helps.”

Anything helps. How true, how kind, how wise. For a dollar.


  1. I cup my hand to my heart and blow you both a kiss. Thank you.

    Comment by Alana — June 18, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

  2. Bless you; it recently became illegal here in Anchorage to give money to anyone on the street when you are in your car……

    Comment by Kay — June 19, 2011 @ 7:24 am

  3. Kay, thank you for the tip on that:

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — June 19, 2011 @ 8:18 am

  4. What a beautiful story. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Betsy @ BMoore Healthy — June 19, 2011 @ 8:20 am

  5. so true, thanks for the reminder!

    Comment by Robin — June 19, 2011 @ 8:48 am

  6. A-ny-thing helps. I know. It really does.

    Comment by Roos — June 19, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  7. I once encountered a man holding a sign in the parking lot of Whole Foods. I gave him some money before I went in the store to buy what I needed. I also bought a turkey sandwich and a large water bottle, which I took back out to the man, Then I hugged him. We hugged long and hard. I may have given him money and a meal, but he gave me a gift as well. It was the gift of a deep, human connection. I will never forget it.

    Comment by Carol — June 19, 2011 @ 9:26 am

  8. Thanks! This is a fabulous post.

    Comment by Tara — June 19, 2011 @ 10:11 am

  9. Living life with an open heart….

    Comment by debra — June 19, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  10. Thank you so much. It’s the simple, beautiful, kind acts that we all remember.

    Comment by Jen — June 20, 2011 @ 6:02 am

  11. Yup, and I am always grateful for the reminder. thank you.

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — June 20, 2011 @ 8:17 am

  12. I almost never carry cash either but remembered I had a dollar in my purse the other morning. I was walking from the YMCA to my office and found a man as you described. He didn’t even have to ask, I just offered it to him. It was only a dollar but anything helps.

    Comment by imelda — June 20, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  13. There are a lot of people begging here in Austin. My 9 year old wants to make “Things You Need” bags for them to keep in the car and hand out. Basic essentials, food and water, and a little money. We all want to help … I wish the government would let people to more for each other, though I wonder if we would.

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — June 20, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  14. “it recently became illegal here in Anchorage to give money to anyone on the street when you are in your car……”

    How about stopping and getting out?

    Saying that reminds me of the video of R.E.M.’s “Everybody hurts”, where loads of people get out of their cars, that are stuck in a jam on the freeway, and start walking. That scene felt so empowering…

    Comment by Daniel Hake — June 20, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  15. anything sure does. this did.

    Comment by Katie Murphy — July 2, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

  16. […] But I know, I’m thankful for creative work and true friends … because they both meet me where I am. And, as my first boss recently wrote (on her lovely post here):  Anything helps. […]

    Pingback by The Illusion of Control | Blog con Queso — August 9, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  17. I have a friend who carries around bottles of water with a granola bar rubber banded to it. Another friend made little bags with personal care items (toothpaste etc) to give to people on the street. Mrs B Roth you could consider those items with your 9yo too. Brilliant acts of compassion.

    Comment by penelope — June 30, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

  18. Thank you, Karen. I’ll carry this with me throughout my day.

    Comment by Kasey Mathews — July 1, 2013 @ 2:07 am

  19. To take down that wall of invisibility that tends to go up with the car window . . .

    When my son was still very little I realized I wanted him to truly SEE the people at the intersections and in the doorways. To not grow those scales over his eyes we have so we can go about the rest of our day without the discomfort of seeing. To not just see, but also to acknowledge with a smile and a word and whatever stray dollar or change I could fish out.

    Comment by Laura — July 1, 2013 @ 9:22 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month