Laura Mainella

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Then There was Charlie

Posted by on in Daily Randomness
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Today I had a meeting downtown near the Rideau Centre, and on the way home, I decided to take the long way to cruise through the streets of downtown and see all the activity and the tourists milling about. I often like to just drive around when there is a lot weighing on my mind. Mercury is in retrograde. It will be a new moon soon. Everything is coming at me all at once...or so it seems.  


I decided to stop at a McDonald’s for a bathroom break and a coffee, since I knew I was still a good forty five minutes from home.


As I was pulling out of McDonald’s, I spotted a homeless man standing on the side of the street, handing out flyers. I had no cash so I kept going. As I pulled out into the busy intersection to head home, the man waved at me, a sweet, gentle, warmhearted smile on his face.


Something about that friendly wave and tender smile tugged at my heartstrings. As the light turned green and I started to make the left turn that would take me back to Sussex and away from the man on the corner, I realized that I just couldn’t turn my back on him.

Instead of following through, I made a sudden u-turn and circled back around to him.

I rolled down my window and the man approached me, somewhat timidly.

“Hello!” I greeted him.

“I don’t have any cash (which was true), but can I buy you something to eat or drink?”

He smiled. “Well, I sure do appreciate it, young lady. I’d love something to eat.”

“What can I get for you?”

“Well,” he looked timid and blushful. His face was dark and lined with creases from being exposed to a lot of sun. He was rumpled and disheveled and was dressed as decently and modestly as one could be under the circumstances and obviously took pride in his job handing out flyers.

“It’s 50 cent hamburger day at McDonald’s. How about four of those?”

The request just broke my heart. I was offering to buy him anything he wanted to eat and his biggest wish was four 50 cent hamburgers from McDonald’s. That’s all. That's it. He didn’t even ask for a drink.

“Can’t I get you something to wash them down with? A coke, maybe? A coffee?” I asked.

“Oh, no ma’am. The burgers will do just fine.” I assured him I’d be right back. And as I sat in the line at McDonald’s, my eyes welled up with tears. It would take me exactly five minutes and two dollars to make someone’s day a little brighter, and I had almost passed up the opportunity to do so.

Hit with sudden inspiration, when I got to the window, I ordered the four burgers…along with a large order of fries, two apple pies, and a large coke. If I was going to be a blessing, I was going to be as big of a blessing as I could be…even if it was in the form of McDonald’s.


The entire order was just $8.00.

I pulled back up to him and handed him the food. He took it from me gratefully.

“God bless you, young lady.”

“What is your name by the way?” I asked.

"It’s Charlie ma'am.” As he handed me one of his crumpled flyers he had been clutching.

“Hi, Charlie. I'm Laura.

His kind, worn eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled down at me.

 “I’ll be praying for you.” he said as he winked, reached down and gave me a fist bump.


“Thank you, Charlie. I hope you enjoy the rest of this beautiful day.”


“God bless you sweet Laura.” He hurried away grasping the drink and the bag of McDonald’s like they were gold. And I headed back into traffic to make my way home, my heart full.


I’m sure Charlie savored his three-course meal from McDonald’s, but there’s no way he enjoyed it even half as much as I loved blessing him with it. It brought me so much satisfaction to fill that delightful man’s body and soul with food and it only cost me $8. It often takes so very little to do something amazing and sometimes life changing for someone. Why don’t I do it more often?


The wind from my open window blew Charlie's flyer onto my lap as I was driving. The flyer had a big sunshine on it, and superimposed in the center were words that couldn't ring more appropriate...


“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”


A homeless man changed my life today.


Charlie. You will be in my prayers.

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