The Value Of A Croissant

The basic Chinese character for prosperity
I recently bought breakfast pastries to bring to a client. I planned to cut them up and leave them in the office kitchen for people to munch.

When I got on my subway, an unfortunate man asked me if I have anything he could eat. I looked at my client pastry bag. I gave it to him, recognizing it means a lot more to him than it would to my clients–and me and everyone I know.

He smelled the sweet treats then started eating. This was quite a special breakfast for him, I presume.

It’s hard to remain conscious of the abundance I have and how much a minuscule fraction of it would mean to so many who are in need.

I gave the gentleman a few napkins I carry for when I’m caught short. I wanted him to enjoy his exceptional subway breakfast with the dignity that comes from not having to use his sleeve.

How special the savory almond and bittersweet chocolate croissants must have been for him. When he finished his treats he turned over his shoulder and gave me a thumbs up. I gave him an understanding wink.

Having so much, it’s easy to forget that what I take for granted would mean so, so much to someone with much less. Someone who may well be helped by the charity community I try to help.

It’s very hard to remain conscious of my abundance. I’m working on it.

8 thoughts on “The Value Of A Croissant

  1. A tiny act of philanthropy. You changed a man’s life, if only for a few minutes. And you also showed him you cared.
    And I bet you felt better for the rest of the day.
    So why, having realised your abundance and prosperity, didn’t you send a stretch gift to your favourite cause ? You would have felt better about yourself for the rest of your life.

  2. You took me from Buddhism to horse manure. Well done! I agree it’s a privilege to share. It creates joy. I feel that myself and often see it in donors.

  3. Thanks for sharing this story (and what a great title, btw!).
    It’s so true that prosperity is relative. Many religions teach that if we’ve been given abundance it is our responsibility to share it. In other words, if we’ve been given the resources to succeed and aquire wealth we’ve also been given the privilege to share it. Everything we “own” does not belong to us. We have only temporary guardianship. And hoarding it does no one any good. As Horace Vandergelder reminds us in “Hello Dolly”: “Money is like manure. It’s no good unless you spread it around.

  4. I commend you, most especially because you gave him napkins as well. We should always remember that we are dealing with fellow human beings.

    I subscribe to a newsletter called Partners in Kindness, where readers send in experiences like this to inspire other subscribers to become more aware of opportunities to help others in their daily lives. It was founded by a man who lost his wife in a terrorist bombing almost a decade ago, who felt the best way to honor her memory was to increase the amount of kindness in the world.

    (Today’s story was from a woman who gave snacks and soft-drinks to the firemen who put out a building fire next door to her, enabling her to close the door on the fire that took her own home 50 years ago.)

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