This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. So many things happened that made me think, “I’m going to write about that this Friday”. By Wednesday afternoon I was filled with possible topics and excited to write about them, I almost couldn’t contain it. That is until Wednesday night.
This past Wednesday was by far the best day of the week. One of my co-workers was able to celebrate his twentieth birthday with us, and, as a gift, another one of my co-workers had given him twenty McChicken Sandwiches from McDonalds. A generous gift indeed, however twenty McChicken Sandwiches was definitely too much for one person who had already eaten dinner to consume. So he started passing the sandwiches out to those who were in the tutor center, some of whom were excited for the unexpected dinner. Unfortunately, after handing some out for free, there were still too many McChickens for our birthday boy to eat. So, with our shift almost over and the night just beginning, what else do we decide to do other than go out into the downtown community and give McChickens to the homeless?
So that is exactly what we ended up doing. For an hour after our closing shift we walked around downtown San Jose giving McChicken Sandwiches to every homeless person we could find. It was difficult at first, treading on the line of “do we want to approach this person who may or may not be homeless?” but eventually we got the hang of it and, to my delight every single person who accepted a sandwich was ever so grateful, as if that was the only thing they ever wanted.
It got me to thinking. Thinking about what it is that I want in this world, what we as people want, truly and deeply want. These people were so happy to receive a sandwich that you could get for two or three dollars at any McDonalds, something so trivial, so menial, meant so much to them.
Looking into their eyes as we were handing them the sandwiches, seeing their broken souls, their hurt, it made me realize that they just wanted to feel loved. One man in particular started a conversation about how important it is to love others and be loved, how important having some sort of belonging is to being human.
And isn’t that what we all, as a species that thrives on connection, want? To be supported, loved, or at a place you can call home?
So yes, I was so blessed by the faces of the homeless community, but they truly were the ones who blessed me. I realized that night that many people want to be loved, for their presence to be cherished, people want a warm embracing hug or place to call home, and people find these things, in the company of friends, the kindness of a stranger, and sometimes, every so often, love can be found at the receiving end of a McChicken.