A BE NICE Story: Giving to a Homeless Woman Gives Even More to the Giver!

By Evelyn Bourlierz
Be Nice (Or Else!) Team Leader at The Temple, A Paul Mitchell Partner School

I had an experience today that made such a huge impact. It was a fairly busy day at school, and when we finished the day I headed to the gas station to gas up before my long trip back to Baltimore. I was a bit tired so I just wanted to get home, but I filled up my tank and decided to go inside to purchase a drink for the ride.

When I got back to my car, a lady asked if I would buy her a sandwich. She was a little aggressive so I reached in my purse and offered her a couple of dollars so I could get on my way. Then I realized she was one of the women from the homeless shelter where our Be Nice (Or Else!) team volunteers. I remembered her because she literally dances every time we cut her hair and is free with her hugs. Such a joyful soul regardless of her circumstances.

The last time we were there, I asked about her and learned that she was in the hospital due to a stroke. It made me so sad because her husband looked lonely and quiet. Now here she was in front of me, asking for a sandwich.

I asked if she remembered me and got out of my car. She looked at me, confused, and when it hit her she literally fell into my arms crying. I took her inside and received several confused looks from the staff there. She was still crying, and I could hardly understand what she was saying. A manager asked if I was okay and I told him she was my friend and I was going to buy her dinner. We picked out two sandwiches, some chips, and a drink. She calmed down while waiting for her food, but the effects of the stroke were apparent: I couldn't understand much of what she said. I gave her the food and she said she was going to find her husband and share the food, and off she went. It was quick ...

I'm sharing this because it was a day maker for ME. This woman has come into my heart via our Be Nice (Or Else!) program, Haircuts for the Homeless. I don't know if I'll ever see her again but I know my trip home tonight was different. She truly made me look at my life and all that I thought I DID NOT have and changed it to thoughts of all I DO have.  What a blessing she was to me today in a most unexpected way. 

I'm privileged and honored to be our school's Be Nice (Or Else!) team leader. Today was a kick in the pants that I needed so much, and it wouldn't have meant much if I hadn't personally known this woman like I do. Blessings such as this are critical to balance in life!