A lot of charitable work that you see people engaging in sometimes seems geared more to gain applause than to do good. Awards swap hands and glossy magazines give glowing spreads when big names “give back.”
Yet real charity doesn’t always get noticed. To quote the Apostle James in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
While plenty of good deeds go unnoticed, sometimes small but substantive acts do get appropriate praise. That’s what happened in the case of three men in Oxford, Alabama.
According to WSVN, Jamario Howard and two friends were eating at a BBQ restaurant called “Brad’s” on April 18. They probably expected to simply chew the proverbial (and perhaps literal) fat together.
Yet as they chatted, Howard glanced around and noticed something. An elderly woman was sitting all by herself in a nearby booth.
I suspect that most of us would’ve simply gone on about our meals. Perhaps a few of us might’ve spared a moment’s thought, considering how sad the woman looked.
But Howard didn’t stop there. He decided that the woman needed cheering up.
“So, tonight JaMychol Baker, Tae Knight, and myself went out to eat at this place called Brad’s in Oxford, and after us sitting there a while waiting on our food i noticed an elderly woman sitting alone,” he wrote on Facebook. “My exact thoughts was, ‘dang, I’d hate to have to eat alone.’
“So after thinking about it a minute, I walked over to her and asked if i could sit with her,” he wrote. CNN reported that the woman’s name was Eleanor, and she quickly agreed to Howard’s offer.
What’s more, she revealed something incredibly poignant: Her husband had passed away, and their 60th anniversary would have been the very next day.
“She said yes and we talked for a minute and after a while of talking she told me she lost her husband and that tomorrow would have been their 60th anniversary,” he continued.
“I instantly gave my condolences and asked her to come eat with us, which she was excited to do,” Howard wrote. He added that they chatted about the food and discussed “everyday life, sharing stuff about each other.”
Howard said that the encounter rocked him to his core. “The point in this is always be kind and be nice to people,” he said.
“You never know what they are going through. This woman changed my outlook on life and how I look at other people.
“Everyone has a story, so do not judge! And, people, I can’t stress this enough.
“GO SEE YOUR MOM AND YOUR GRANDPARENTS,” he concluded. “They miss you!”
Truer words were never spoken. According to Creators Syndicate author Marilyn Murray Willison, “There are 13.6 million widows in America, and about 700,000 women become a widow in the U.S. each year,” so we all have plenty of opportunities to reach out if we just keep our eyes and hearts open.
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