There’s this refrigerator out on the street
between the coffee shop
and the ice cream shop.
The idea is for people to put what they can into the refrigerator
and for people to take what they need
from the refrigerator.
Nobody checks to see if you actually need some of what’s
in that refrigerator.
We went to put some stuff into that refrigerator.
Was an old-ish guy rummaging through that refrigerator.
Pulled out a couple of big plastic bags
and pretty nearly emptied out the refrigerator.
Maybe he really needed food
and couldn’t get to the refrigerator very often.
Maybe he was collecting food for other people
who really needed the food.
But he wasn’t leaving much behind
for others who might need some of what
was in that refrigerator.
A bit insensitive.
We stopped at the ice cream shop
after we put our contribution into the refrigerator.
As we were leaving
a person came up to the refrigerator
who looked like what you’d imagine
that a stereotype of a bag lady
would look like.
Lots of bags, of course.
Very bent-over-looking-at-the-ground posture.
Unkempt grey hair.
Mismatched clothes of an uncertain vintage.
Too warm coat for the pretty warm day.
Looked like someone who could really use
some of what was in that refrigerator.
But she opened a couple of her many bags
and put at least as much stuff as we did
into that refrigerator.
Then she turned around and shuffled off.
Never can tell.
Life is full of surprises.
Could be that I was stereotyping someone
who wasn’t what I imagined she was.
Could be that those that need the most
are the most generous.