I stopped at the Circle K at 44th & Camelback in Phoenix to cash in my multiple “minor winners”. The machine wouldn’t read my tickets! After stepping aside while the clerk helped other people and then coming back to me and still having troubles with the machine, I left with my unclaimed tickets, knowing that I would need to make another stop, then, at the convenience store in Mesa by my house. Not exactly “convenient” to make another stop, but I knew better than to get too upset about the situation.
Got to my neighborhood Circle K. When I got out of the truck and started walking up toward the door, I saw a big dog lying on the sidewalk. It was then that I noticed the kid sitting next to the dog, all bundled up and holding a sign, “Down on my luck…anything would be appreciated.” The dog was a large, tan-and-white Alaskan-type; and the kid was young–early to mid-20’s. I went inside and cashed in my winning tickets. I don’t know how or why, but my winners didn’t total near what I was expecting…$7 total. But I knew better than to complain, as I was much better off than the kid outside. Came back out and handed the kid a 5-spot, said, “Here you go…good luck to you.” He said, “Thank you very much.” He was just quiet, polite, and reserved.
As I drove away, I thought not only about the poor kid, but also about that poor dog. How many people help the dog? So I drove quickly home, took a large, plastic zipper bag, and dumped a couple large handfuls of dog biscuits and rawhide chewies into the bag. Then I drove quickly back to the convenience store. As I approached, I said to the kid, “I hope you don’t mind–I’m a dog lover,” while handing him the bag with the dog treats. He looked at me as he took the bag and said, “Thanks”. Opening it immediately, he held it out and up to me and said, “Do you want to give him one? His name is Loki…he is my buddy.” I squatted and took a rawhide chew and handed it to Loki, who, like his human owner, was very polite and reserved and accepted my gift graciously. I asked what kind of dog, and the kid said, “He’s a timber wolf/husky mix.” Loki sniffed my hand and let me stroke the fur on his head, face, and neck while I chatted with his human. The kid said he was just trying to get enough money to spend the night somewhere, so he wouldn’t have to sleep out in the cold again.
I asked, “Can I get you something, anything to eat, drink?” The kid said, “The guy at Circle K gave me a sandwich, so I’m good.” I said, “Something to drink then?” He said, “Well, a Coke would be really nice, thank you.” So I went in, purchased a medium-sized Coke (large enough for quenching, but not so tough for a homeless person to worry about carrying) and a small bag of beef jerky. I went back outside and handed him the Coke and the jerky and said, “For later…or whenever…” He thanked me again graciously. I squatted and petted Loki again, who seemed very contented. We chatted a little more, the kid explaining that if things got slow there, he would head down to the Safeway and see if he had any better luck. Loki slumped back down against his human as I rose and handed the kid another five. “Good luck…take care,” I bade them, and was wished the same in return.
Neither the kid nor the dog seemed like strangers to me. We were just chatting, as amiably as if we were neighbors or relatives. As I drove away, I realized, as if I had just fully awakened, the reason for my change in plan at the Circle K in Phoenix. There was another plan for me, and for Loki and his human. I didn’t give them a million dollars or a million dog biscuits. I gave them of me…and wished I could have done more. And I prayed a million thank-you’s to God, our Creator, to the Universe, for the opportunity I was given to help another spirit, and a canine spirit as well. Because we truly are all in this…cosmic soup if you will…together.
When I got home, I hugged our dog and gave him a biscuit and thanked him for sharing his treats. And then I went and sat on my bed and cried as I petted the kitties, and then gave them their kitty treats. And I said another silent thank-you…for the way my evening turned out, not nearly as I had planned, but so much richer and more rewarding to my soul. I am rich beyond the millions in lottery money that I plan to win someday. And I am so very thankful.