A Heart Pried Open

It’s not easy being sensitive.

There isn’t a homeless person that escapes my notice, a blind man I don’t see, or a stray cat under a car wishing I could coax home, so it’s no surprise I spotted Andy.

There’s an AA meeting I attend right out of a Steinbeck novel. The still sick and suffering, as down and out drinkers are often called, line the back just to have a safe place where they won’t be asked to leave.

They creep in like mice, clutching a free cup of coffee shyly gleaned from the hospitality table.

Their plight takes your humility out for a spin, which brings me back to Andy.

An ageless, massive man of color, in black sweats and a blinding white T-shirt with a gray hoodie tied to his waist. He’s never without two well stocked duffels neatly packed I imagine holding his few belongings.

The difference between Andy and his brethren is, he’s been sober for 22 years.

He doesn’t participate, rarely raising his hand, seated quietly in the far corner. He asks for nothing, will help put chairs away before disappearing into the wilds of the city.

Is he homeless? Sheltered? Which means, every night he goes to a different one looking for an empty bed. A proud man, who lets you know the way he walks with military bearing, pride means the world.

There’s something about Andy that instills something in me, feeling better when he’s in the room, so when a week went by and I didn’t see him, it concerned me.

After getting an unexpected check that put some extra money in my pocket, I thought I’d share it with some of these men who need a helping hand.

Deciding against cash, I thought better to give Starbucks cards where they could get coffee and have a warm place to be, but the day I showed up, no one was there, except for Andy. There he was in his usual place looking his noble self.

I realized he was the one I really wanted to give something to, but how was I to get him to accept a gift that wasn’t charity, but a true gift of the heart.

I said a prayer, asking God to give me the right words so not to insult him.

At the end of the meeting, I padded over and said, “Hi Andy, I’m really happy to see you.” He nodded, his big brown eyes filled with warmth.

Then the words came.

“Andy, I need you to do me a favor.” He nodded again, letting me know, he’d help if he could.

“I’ve been very worried about you, that you might be cold somewhere, so I’d like to give this to you,” pulling out one of the cards.

“You’d do me such a grace by taking it, so I know, you’ll have a place to go if you need it.”

There was silence as if every sound in the world was turned off. It was then I remembered the bible passage from Mathew…

I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

I’m not a big Bible reader, but always loved that. You just do what you can, tenderly and sincerely.

Andy finally said, “I don’t care much for Starbucks coffee.”

“But they have other things Andy. Tea, hot chocolate, orange juice, and cake.”

“Cake?” I watched his little boy came out, as he gently took the card from my hand.

“Thank you kindly,” he said.

“No Andy, thank you,” I answered, before ducking into the ladies room for a quick cry.

I can’t say how happy I was that he accepted something so small that could make such a big difference on a cold winter’s day.

I then counted my blessings, including knowing Andy, as I made my way home.   Unknown-1.jpeg




About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in alcohol, Faith, food, grace, humanity, inspiration, Love, New York City, Starbucks, words, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to A Heart Pried Open

  1. Dale says:

    That was a beautiful thing to do, Susannah. I am so glad Andy accepted your gift with grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorryless says:

    Cake wins the day. Well, you won the day first. And Andy too.

    I dig it when everybody wins something. You don’t get too many situations like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your words are touchy and your actions are thoughtful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. aFrankAngle says:

    I can’t say this enough … I love your heart! You are a beautiful human being. You are a beacon for what humanity can be. Thank you, Susannah! … thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A great story for the season. I’m glad he took the card. Cake is the best way I can think of to brighten a day. Thank you for sharing this story, Susannah.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Vasca says:

    The giver is most always as blest as the recipient or more. Especially in cases like this…and you were totally blest, as was Andy. Beautifully given. I like your quote about God bats last…I know one thing for sure, God always wins. I never count Him short or out. Andy sounds like a wonderful gentleman. Well done, Susannah. Oh and I’ve noticed God is a whiz at putting someone in my path that needs something that I have to give…and the giving is beyond joyous…it’s fantastic for everyone involved. Good hunting.


  7. Patricia says:

    You are a blessing, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the way you give from the heart. Because of your example, I’m trying hard to see people in need that are in my sphere. You have an overflowing heart that is truly awe-inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There are people, often surprising ones, who bring almost unexpected tears to your eyes. There are certain AGT or BGT episodes that have singers who just make me bawl and I let it and rewatch them. But, I am talking about people you meet, people you take a liking to, and then find out what they are made of. Many of my past troubled students were that way. I would thing of them as problems until I knew them and became a teacher “friend”. They respected me and I respected them. Enough both ways that they, often, told me things they would not tell anyone else. I always said I would keep secrets until the law demanded I say something…and I did….and…they knew that. I am still friends with about a dozen or so…one has died (was shot). I really liked him.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing this. The human-to-human contact, the struggle between not wanting to hurt or shame and wishing so very much to help and offer something to those we know are just like us, if not for the grace of angels and fortune of things not of us, but of circumstance and privilege and luck.
    I’m glad Andy was there.
    I’m glad he accepted.
    I’m glad you share this city with me.
    You’re good people.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful Christmas blessing. You truly embody what this country needs a lot more of … awareness and caring. I hope everyone who reads your story will be inspired, I know I am.


  12. aFrankAngle says:

    Off topic … but you just popped into my mind so I wanted to say hello and have a good weekend!


  13. -Eugenia says:

    It is a wonderful thing that you did. Here’s to compassion! 🥂😉

    Liked by 1 person

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