The $10 Billion Coat

The sun was shining, the sky was blue. And the bare-chested young man walking down the street looked like he could have been on his way to the beach. Except… it was two days before Christmas in Northern Montana. Even worse, it was 17 degrees below zero.

Sitting at a stoplight, all I could do was stare. Was this guy off his rocker? On drugs? Or just severely down on his luck?

But what happened next warmed my heart. A man in a pickup, two kids on the seat beside him, pulled up next to the shirtless man, rolled down his window, and handed out his own thick winter coat.

The young man gave a half-hearted wave of thanks and continued on down the street.

Who knows how much the coat had cost this Good Samaritan? Maybe it was a Kmart special. Maybe he’d shelled out a few hundred bucks. Perhaps he’d picked it up for a couple of dollars at the local Goodwill.

It could have cost $10 billion or 10 cents. That’s not what mattered. This generous man reminded those of us who’d witnessed his act of kindness just how easy it is to be selfless. He proved to his kids that some things are worth more than money. And in weather like that, he may have saved a life.

It’s easy to be thoughtful around the holidays. But don’t let the lack of a “reason” prevent you from giving. I’m not talking about donating money – although that is one way to help. I’m talking about donating a little of your time and energy to people in need. Helping the frazzled mother of four carry her groceries out to the car… holding the door for the gentleman in front of you at the bank… giving blood.

Roman philosopher and playwright Seneca said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” There are thousands – probably millions – of ways to spread generosity and goodwill. Do something kind today.

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