Believing in a Beggar

December 13, 2019 Updated: December 13, 2019

My mom and dad own a restaurant in the Bronx, New York. They are busy most of the day, especially during lunchtime. They are normally very nice to all of their customers, but on certain days when it is very busy, they are usually not lenient toward people asking for food or other things. I remember a certain beggar that said he was homeless, but nobody believed him. After all, he had pretty nice sneakers and was wearing nice clothes. He kept pleading for food, saying he didn’t have much to eat these days. My parents were reluctant to give food to him, but they eventually did when he kept pleading for help.

Darren Ke
Darren Ke. (Courtesy of The Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation)

A few months passed without him coming to the restaurant. One day, my parents and I decided to travel to Manhattan to shop for some new school apparel. While we were walking to a clothing shop, there he was, the beggar that had come to our store! He apparently hoped he could make more money begging in Manhattan than in the Bronx. However, we saw people relentlessly making fun of him and mocking him. Instead of his previous appearance back in the Bronx, he now looked sad and disheveled, with a ripped shirt, sandals with ripped soles, ragged pants, and a dirty face, and a cup to collect change. The cup only had about two dollars’ worth of change in it.

The homeless person recognized my parents and waved at them, trying to get their attention. My parents simply looked the other way, but I recognized him immediately. I waved to him, and he smiled at me. Without my parents seeing, I dropped a five-dollar bill into his cup. He looked at me with the most sincere and grateful look in his eyes; I will never forget it. On my way back to the Bronx, I thought about him and wanted to try to find a way to help him.

A year passed, and now I was eight years old. One day I went to the supermarket to get some groceries, and I saw the same homeless person in ragged clothes, with a dirtied face, and a cup that was about to fall apart. I immediately gave him some money again. I bought my groceries, and when I came outside, he asked if I knew of any jobs nearby. I said, “Maybe,” and I ran home to ask my parents if they would hire another person in their restaurant. My parents said yes, but the person would only get minimum wage. I relayed this to the homeless person, and he jumped for joy.

This homeless man worked at my parents’ restaurant for two years. By then he had saved enough money to buy a house for his family. To this day, my parents still don’t remember that he was the beggar they gave food to. I am happy that I was able to make a difference in the life of someone, and I look forward to helping more people in the future.

Excerpted from “Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference by 75 Kids Who Changed Their Worlds” by The Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation (Hybrid Global Publishing)