HELEN LANG: Christmas means time for giving

This is about human kindness, and it doesn’t just happen when people are full of Christmas goodwill. This is a true story and it happened in Victoria some years ago.

My friend Lucy was in downtown Victoria, shopping, and being somewhat tired and frustrated, decided to have a cup of coffee, just to have a chance to sit down quietly and decide what to do next. As she approached a coffee shop she saw a man sitting on the freezing sidewalk beside the shop, with an open cap at his feet, begging.

She looked at him as she passed, but instead of giving him money, she went into the coffee shop and ordered a cup of coffee with lots of cream and lots of sugar, plus a large jelly doughnut.

She paid for them and took these outside and presented them to the beggar. He flung back his hood revealing one side of his hair painted red, while the other side was black.

He smiled at her with delight as he accepted her kind offering and thanked her politely. It would have been all too easy to drop a few coins in his cap, but instead she took the time and was thoughtful enough to treat him as another human being, and bring some sustenance, and some kindness into a life that probably held little of either.

May your Christmas bring you joy and perhaps some kindness as well.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.

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