Earlier tonight after work I went into a CVS near my house to pick up a quick prescription when I came across a gentleman trying to do the same. The only difference was that he couldn’t pay for his.
I didn’t really tune into the conversation until I heard him give his birthdate. “Twelve, thirty-one, fifty-nine.” The guy’s got a New Year’s Eve birthday. Then I noticed him getting frustrated because he didn’t have enough cash to get what he needed.
At first, he was trying to get ten pills for $17 and change. He didn’t have insurance, and he kept saying his cousin was supposed to come through for him.
Then he asked about five pills. $8 and change.
Then just one. $3.50.
All he could afford was just the one pill. He had a crumpled up Lincoln in his pocket and that was it.
As I approached the counter, I gave my name, DOB, etc. and then I asked if I could pay for the gentleman’s medicine. After a quick glance and a nod to her coworker, the lady behind the counter said yes. She motioned over to the gentleman and said that I was paying for his medicine.
I quickly paid, shook the man’s hand and told him not to worry about it. As I was walking away, I heard him yell “thank you” over my shoulder. I turned around and could see that his demeanor had changed from frustrated to grateful. Tears were welling up in his eyes as he reached out to give me as genuine and heartfelt of a hug as I’d had in a while. “Thank you,” he said. “I’m so sick.”
“It’s hard out here for all of us, and we can use all the help we can get. God Bless you, sir.” I replied.
The gentleman, still holding back tears, walked on his way and I walked on mine. We might have been two different people, but in that moment we were two people just helping each other make it through the day.
I helped him with his meds. He helped me see the hope for mankind that I like to believe in despite daily evidence to the contrary. The $8.38 didn’t mean much to me, but it meant the world to him.
All this happened after I had just been listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost”, a song about the high price of poverty. The answer to that question varies depending on who you are. If you’re like me, and you have resources, that dollar might not cost much to you, but it can literally make a world of difference to someone in need.