суббота, 3 ноября 2012 г.

At a Bus Stop with Popcorn

I was living in São Paulo, Brazil.

It is a HUGE city, with more people living in it than in my whole country (Hungary, which has a population of 10 million). We rented a flat in a gated community, but there was a favela (shanty town) quite near.

For several months I didn't have a car, so three times a week, I used public transportation to go to the city centre. During these trips, I would ride with the people who took the same bus from the favela to go to work.

When I got on the bus, all the seats were already taken. But when people saw that my bag was heavy (full of books), they offered to hold it in their lap, to make me feel lighter standing. At first, I was shocked. Then I realized that these people had absolutely no intention to steal from me: they only wanted to help.

Once, on my way back, I had to wait for a long time at a bus stop. I was alone, except for a woman who was apparently very poor. She carried a small paper bag of popcorn and nothing else.

While we were waiting, she walked over and offered me some popcorn. I thanked her, but didn't want to help myself to it. She then repeatedly insisted that I take from what was evidently her only food.

That was the first time I thought about how people who have almost nothing, are sometimes able to share the little they have so much more "easily" than those who own a lot. I wonder if it's true that the more you have, the bigger the burden, and the difficulty to share anything with others.

I was so moved by that woman's simple generosity that day. I clearly had more than she did, but she naturally and joyfully shared what little she had with me nevertheless.


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