As I was wandering around Philadelphia, admiring this beautiful city, I saw a young homeless man sitting in a doorway, apparently asleep. He was very handsome, with a blond beard, actually looking a little like a picture of Jesus Christ. After walking on, something made me go back and give him some money. I took out a dollar and put it in his cup, and at this moment he opened the most beautiful blue eyes, smiled at me and thanked me. I smiled back and walked on, and suddenly I noticed a young black woman trying to catch up with me. She apologized for following me. She explained that she had watched me passing the homeless man, stopping, and going back to give him something. She was so impressed that she did the same thing: she returned to him and gave him a cold drink, which she had just bought for herself. When we said good-bye she blessed me and said that without me she would never have thought of giving anything. I was a bit embarrassed, but I must admit I walked on with a good feeling.

While we are on the subject of blessings, I seem to attract quite a number of people who insist on blessing me. On my way back from San Diego, when I boarded the plane I saw a woman trying to find her seat. I showed it to her and helped her with the stowing of her luggage. Our seats were close together but not in the same row. She told me that she had never flown before and was terrified, but that she wanted to visit her daughter who had moved from California to New York. I was surprised, she must have been at least sixty and not to have been on a plane before seems rare these days. I told her that I had been flying many times and there was nothing to worry about, and if she needed help to call me. She calmed down and for the rest of the flight I kept walking back to see whether she was all right. When the plane landed in New York, she said that thanks to my help she was not afraid to fly again and then she blessed me. I always feel I haven’t done anything to deserve all these blessings. I know it is only a way to say thank you, but it sounds nice. Helping somebody doesn’t take any effort, just listening or a kind word will do it. Over the years many people have done the same for me and I know what it means. So I hope I’ll get blessed many more times – it can’t do any harm!

Lucy Mandelstam July 2000