The downside to selling girl scout cookies is delivering girl scout cookies. It compounds the problem if your daughter is eight years old and missing her front teeth. When she smiled, the world melted. So it was that we spent a Saturday morning delivering a huge amount of cookies to people who would either savor them one bite at a time, or devour them one box at a time.
As a reward for her hard work we celebrated with a lunch of happy meals. We pulled into the parking lot past a man holding a newspaper and a sign. The sign was written on a piece of cardboard, Newspaper, 50 Cents. He was out of place in the upscale neighborhood. His face and clothes spoke of a hard life. He wore a thread bare sweater over several shirts. His hands were rough. His posture was defeated. He looked at the occupants of the cars as they drove past, but they did not see him. He was invisible.
We got our meals and sat down outside. Kate, who was usually chatty, was uncharacteristically silent. She sat where she could see the stranger though he never looked her way. As we finished our meals, she stood up and started emptying her pockets.
“What are you looking for?” I asked.
A frown was growing on her face. “Money.” She replied.
Now those of you that have an eight-year old know that there may be numerous unexplained things in their pockets, but money is not one of them.
“Hey Pop, do you have any money?”
She’s going to be a lawyer I thought. Always ask a question that you know the answer to.
“What do you want it for?”
She looked at the invisible man. “Him.”
She took the money and went back into the restaurant. When she came out she was carrying a bag and a drink. “Let’s go.” She said.
We slowed to a stop as we pulled up to the man. She opened the door and climbed out. Walking up to him she handed him the meal and two boxes of cookies. He looked at her with disbelief, and took the gifts of a child.
“Thank you, thank you very much. I am hungry.”
As she looked up at him she hugged him and said,
“I see you.”
His eyes filled with tears.
“Most people don’t”
“I am not most people.” She replied, “I am Kate.”