Something strange happened last night.
I did something I’ve never done before.
I’m going to tell you the story, even at the risk of sounding like a pious, sanctimonious, braggart (which of course, I am). There’s value in this story – somewhere.
I spent the evening at the Minnesota Wild/Calgary Flames NHL game in Oracle Corporation’s luxury suite eating catered food, drinking free booze, and hobnobbing with friends about ice hockey, technology, and business – all on Oracle’s tab. For me, it was a gift, for which I paid nothing.
As I left the game, I walked alone through a park, among a sea of thousands of hockey fans, when a homeless man appeared and asked, “can you spare a few dollars?”
I ignored him, like I always ignore panhandlers and continued walking.
Then I heard a woman shout, “Get a job.”
I took a few more steps and I stopped.
I turned around.
It hit me
A visual and intuitive understanding I can’t put into words…
I stood still in the center of the park, for what seemed like several minutes, soaking in the whole scene, without an auditory thought in my head, as if I was shocked into a standing meditation. I watched the people flow by the man, who stuck out like a dead head in a river of clones.
I almost burst out laughing, but restrained myself for fear that people would find out I am crazy.
Then I reached into my pocket, pulled out a few dollars, walked up to the man, tapped him on the shoulder, and handed him the money.
As I was taking a shower this morning, I asked myself, “Steve, why did you give that man money?”
Not because I felt morally responsible
Not because I felt guilty
Not because I felt he needed it
Not because I felt pity for him
I gave that man money, because I admired him.