Bill recalls friendship with a senior made possible through a simple act of kindness.
Fresh out of high school, I got a job working the 3rd shift at a local gas station in Ohio. One of the daily tasks I had was to throw away the “old” breakfast sandwiches. They were perfectly fine and well within the consumption period after being heated up, but commercially, not sellable anymore.
One day, a kind older man wearing a veteran’s ball cap saw me tossing them out. I had seen Mr. Smith* before (he was the grandfather of a friend of mine from high school) and he had always been pleasant. He asked me what I was doing throwing out perfectly good sandwiches and after a little conversation with my manager, I was allowed to take 3 sandwiches home each morning: one for myself, one for Mr. Smith, and one for his dog.
After that morning, what ensued was what I can only describe as a wealth of untapped knowledge. I would spend most mornings for the next 4 years with Mr. Smith where he would pass on his wisdom to me. Mr. Smith always had a story to share. Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we shed a tear, sometimes we just sat in silence while he destroyed me in chess (as I needed to reserve all my cognitive power to even get close to his expertise). He was rather opinionated but also strong, kind, and understanding. The time we spent together helped shape me into the person I am today.
Sadly, in late 2007, Mr. Smith passed away. I spent some time reflecting on the time I spent with him and am truly grateful for having been able to become friends with a truly wonderful person. For the small price of me delivering sandwiches to him and his dog each morning, Mr. Smith imparted wisdom that I think about every day: It’s never too late to get to know people in your community and don’t let opportunities to meet new people slip by.
Submitted by: Bill*
*All names changed to protect privacy
To share your story of strength and inspiration about a special senior in your life – go to: https://www.mowsf.org/MyStory
Did You Know?
- In 2020, Meals on Wheels San Francisco prepared and delivered 2.4 million meals to older San Franciscans in need.
- Out of an estimated 117,000 older adults (65+) living in San Francisco, 36% live below 200% FPL, and many live on fixed incomes. (source: SF Food Security Task Force 2018 Food Assessment Report)
- Approximately 68% of Meals on Wheels San Francisco recipients live alone.