Gratitude Along Kalayaan Avenue


There is an intersection along Kalayaan Avenue where there will be about three to four scrawny street children every day. These children, not any one aged more than 10 years old, are waiting for the stoplight to turn red, so that they can approach the car windows and ask for a few coins with their outstretched palms.

One of these children always approaches my window and I gladly oblige by giving this child whatever coins I have in my pocket. What is quite peculiar about this particular little boy is that he never says “thank you”. He never acknowledges anything you give him, whether it would be a snack, or loose change. He never says “thank you”. I have, in fact, resorted to saying “you’re welcome” to him, but still, he never says a word.

Pondering this, I realize that I am so grateful to this young lad because of two reasons. First, my 5-second interaction with him makes me feel gratitude for the fact that though there are quite a number of challenges that I face in my own life, it will never be as hard as the challenges that my thankless street child encounters. Secondly, the almost daily interaction with him makes me realize that I have the power to give, without expecting a “thank you” in return. It reminds me of the power I have to be able to make small positive changes, without looking for recompense.

We all have something to learn from the thankless boy. We should always remember that though we must feel challenged at many times in our lives, there will always be someone who has a life mired with more difficulty than us. For these people, we must remain courageous and steadfast. We must also remember that no matter what circumstances we are in, we have the power to give and create positive energy without diminishing ourselves; and without the need to be compensated for that gift.

“The gift is to the giver – and comes back most to him” – Walt Whitman

-A Garlic Man