The Magical Coat
By Dan Hoeweler
Some years ago a rich man drove through the city in a limousine and stopped to speak to a homeless man.
“Sir, why are you without housing and food?”
“A disability has caused me to loose everything, and I now wonder the streets unable to work.”
The man told him to enter his limousine. He thought of ways to help the homeless man and in doing so decided he should offer him a fine meal. He told the chauffeur to travel to an upscale restaurant in the city where they could eat. The man and his homeless companion, upon reaching their destination, exited the limo and walked through the front door of the restaurant. A waiter upon their arrival, noticed the man’s companion had not showered or shaved in weeks. His tattered clothing and missing teeth stood in sharp contrast to his luxurious surroundings.
“Sir, we have rules regarding proper attire at this restaurant.”
The man then handed the waiter a twenty dollar bill, and they were then escorted to a table besides a group of musicians who played music in a corner. Upon being seated he waved over a hostess, and asked her to serve the finest chardonnay and a large dish of salmon for the two of them. The homeless man received the occasional stare from other tables, but he was too caught up enjoying himself to care.
“You sir, are fine company, a lot better than some of the people in this restaurant who are always trying to act so important and powerful. I guess you don’t concern yourself with these types of things do you?”
The homeless man shook his head.
The hostess eventually returned with their cuisines, and the homeless man quickly took to eating his meal as he was rather hungry.
“Most of my friends are terrified of the homeless, and yet here I am eating with you. Why is it that we are terrified of each other?”
A shrug came from across the table towards him.
“When a rich man walks through the impoverished sections of town at night he believes he is taking a risk, and the wealthy find this very unfair and unjust. Yet I see clearly now that so too is it with you, who is unable to travel outside the inner city without fear of demonetization from those around you. Just look at all the odd stares you are receiving now in this magnificent restaurant.”
“It’s always been this way for me.”
“I have never had to beg for food, or worry about shelter like you. I have never suffered greatly and it is because of this that I have taken for granted everything that I have. Both our meals are of equal value, and yet you savor your meal much more than mine. The foreign spices and flavors have hit your tongue in a much more satisfying and desirable fashion, and for this I would have paid a fortune for.”
The waiter then refilled their chardonnay. The two took to drinking the fifty dollar bottle of wine, and the man could see that his guest found it particularly tasteful.
“I know you sleep at nights wondering what your purpose is in this world, and how you have effected those around you. I take it that many a passerby see you as a cancer in society that needs to be purged, however I know that your suffering has also given you strength in ways you don’t realize.”
The homeless man listened to him with a perplexed look on his face. He stared at the man of wealth for some time, and then spoke.
“I thank you for the meal, kind sir. I must be on my way, could you please escort me to the nearest homeless shelter.”
“Take this, believe me when I say I don’t need it nor deserve it. I have
committed many misdeeds in my life.”
He handed him a fifty dollar bill, and a smile grew on the homeless man’s face.
“Believe me when I say it is an investment well worth it. I am a man who finds happiness through helping others. “Both then walked back to the limo where the chauffeur drove the homeless man to a local shelter. The next day the homeless man went to a local store to purchase some warm clothing with the money given to him. When he tried on a particular coat, he found it to be a magical experience, as he realized the coat he wore was given through kindness and altruism.
The man can still be found wearing the coat to this day. He trots along with his cart of possessions, the most important of which is his coat. Wearing it reminds him of the meal he had with the man, and that goodness can still be found