Today I walked through the aisles of Athens Goodwill with two friends. One of those friends started walking faster suddenly and pulled my hand toward him. He whispered to me, “Watch that little girl over there.”
There was a 7- or 8-year-old girl holding a fluffy pink stuffed animal and she was gently petting it as if it were a real animal. As I looked over, he started walking away. I followed him and he whispered to me, “This place makes me sad.”
As I walked around the store and bought my $2 Nicholas Sparks book — The Rescue — I kept an eye on the little girl. Her innocence and loving nature amazed me.
She walked out of the store empty-handed after asking the cashier to let her try on the sparkly bracelets in the display case. The stuffed animal was the last thing she set down before she walked out.
It is easy to believe her mom didn’t buy the stuffed animal because the girl had too many stuffed animals already. It’s easy to believe the little girl changed her mind and didn’t want it anymore. By the way she laid the animal down and her eyes slowly drifted away from it as she walked out the door, I would say it was neither of the situations above.
These little things are what make you think. You become more grateful, or maybe empathetic if you were in that situation once before. Sadly, it takes these little things for a lot of us to decide to help another person or think about being a better person for a second. Even more sadly, most of us think about it for that second and do nothing about it.
There is always a Christmas story where someone buys a family a ton of presents who cannot afford it. In my eyes, those families are heroes. They bring me to tears. I have never been without clothes or a Christmas present and am so grateful for that. Around the holidays though, I always wish I had more to give to those who have very little or nothing.
I wish I could say I was one of the people that see something like that and change their life forever and become eternal givers and donate every extra dollar they have to charity. I wish I could say I bought that $5 stuffed animal for that little girl but sadly, I’m a broke college student. Maybe when I’m older I will become one of those people but for now I am one who aspires to become a giver and I try to in every little way I can.
Everyone always says to give more than you take and everyone that I know who lives by that saying lives an extremely happy life. Little moments, such as seeing a young child unable to afford a $5 stuffed animal, change you — maybe in the tiniest of ways, but they do. They remind you that we are all humans just trying to make it in this world whether it is financially, emotionally or physically. Remember the time you saw the little girl in your life. You can take all you want, but remember to give back as well. Someday you may need someone to buy the stuffed animal for you, too.
Meagan Dixon is a freshman studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. How do you pay it forward? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.