Act of Kindness
Jenna sat at her desk staring out at the park across from the office building where she worked. On any given day, fifteen to twenty-five homeless people would cluster in the botanical garden around a fire which they built with debris and other trash collected. They would warm themselves until the police arrived and dispersed the vagabonds.
The deadline for the project Jenna was working on was fast approaching and her boss would be expecting the power-point presentation within the hour. She hadn’t left her desk in six hours, not to urinate, get a cup of coffee and she couldn’t remember if she ate breakfast or not. She was tired, and her usual imaginative artistic muse was on temporary hiatus. It was absolutely critical that she come up with a marketing slogan to get this client for Dunbar and Henderson.
Her cell phone beeped and a message popped up on her computer screen. Mr. Henderson wanted to speak with her in his office. Oh, great, she thought. She picked up the notebook with the marketing project and headed into her boss’s office.
“Jenna, just got a call from Tilson’s Bakery. They won’t be here until the end of the week. Got a couple more days to work on that project. Just wanted to give you the good news personally. And I want you to know, I really appreciate all of your hard work.”
“Thank you, sir.” Jenna wasn’t sure what to say or think. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Normally under pressure she did well with creative thinking, but this project was a little more difficult than she anticipated.
Back at her desk with a bowl of soup and some crusty bread, she read the notes she had taken for Tilson’s Bakery marketing project. She looked out the window and noticed a woman in disarray pawing through the trash cans strategically placed in the park. She pulled a brown paper bag from the can, pulled out something and popped it in her mouth. A minute later she spat it out, and wiped her tongue with the back of her hand.
Jenna put on her coat and carried the food down the elevator, out the lobby and across the busy street. The view of the green was quite different at eye-level than it was from her cubical on the fourth floor of the office building. She looked around and noticed the grass compact from the travel paths of the vagrants. Finally she saw the woman sitting against a tree.
“I just want to give you this. It’s okay, it won’t hurt you.”
The woman cowered like a feral cat.
Jenna sat the bowl of soup and bread on the ground. “I’ll just leave it here for you. Have a nice day.”
When Jenna got back to her desk, she opened the marketing plan for the New England Bakery. She wrote across the top, A Small Act of Kindness Can Change a Person’s Whole Perspective. Underneath she wrote, for every item purchased, Tilson’s will donate fifty percent to the local soup kitchen to help the homeless.