The Gift

Joey skipped happily on the road home. His mind was on the 5 dollar bill Uncle Bob gave him for helping wash the car that Sunday morning. Joey put his hand inside his pocket to make sure the money was still there. How rich he felt!

At last, I can have a set of batteries for my hand held video game. I hope 5 dollars will be enough to buy it, he figured as he approached a store.

Just then, Joey turned and saw a man hobbling toward him slowly and carefully across the street. He seems to be quite poor, Joey thought. He looks hungry and sick. I wonder what he wants.

“Alms, for pity's sake,” the old man croaked, daylight gleaming against his sweat-drenched, haggard-looking face.

“Have mercy on a poor, hungry man,” he begged.

Joey pretended not to have heard the plea while his mind struggled between giving or not giving. I probably should, he finally decided. Reaching down into his pocket, he drew a 10-cent coin and the 5 dollar bill. He tried to dig deeper, hoping to find more coins; there were none. Giving up any of the money he had gave Joey a moment of indecision. He considered it carefully for a while. Should I give the coin or the bill?

Not far away, he could see the garishly decorated department store. Behind him, the image of the poor man begging for money haunted him.

Soon Joey put his hand back into his pocket and took out the neatly-folded 5 dollar bill. “Here” He placed the money in the man's outstretched hand. “And here.” He added the only coin from his pocket.

“Thank you,” the old man whispered, his face lit up in a glow. His tear-filled eyes followed Joey as he walked away. With an unmistakable trace of kindness in his voice, the rugged man hollered, “God bless you for your kindness.”

Giving all he had, Joey felt warm and happy down deep inside. He smiled at the thought that with the money, the hungry man would now be able buy some food. And the batteries for his hand held video game? Well, Joey reasoned they wouldn't last longer than the happiness his small gift could bring to the old man.

Arts | Fiction | Short Stories

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