The Humanitarian Experiment

By R.G. Ramsey

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The Humanitarian Experiment

“I want to be next to every single person on earth, because I know first-hand what it is like to have no one by your side.” ~Abhijit Naskar

Take Nine.

Even though Riley worked very hard, he was no stranger to living paycheck to paycheck, then an event happened that would change his life forever.

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Six months after this life-changing event happened to him, Riley was in a local park begging for food. He didn’t look very presentable in his approach, which caused everyone to insult him and tell him to get off his lazy rear end and get a job.

Riley hadn’t shaved in five months and was looking quite disheveled. His facial hair was uneven, and his clothes were so tattered and threadbare even a thrift store wouldn’t take them. Almost everyone who saw him would look down upon him, and declare him a homeless bum.

Riley still had hope in human compassion and believed somebody would have empathy for him, and offer him a helping hand.

Riley returned to a park that was one of several places he tried in vain to find someone for his experiment in human compassion.

It was day nine for Riley begging in the park only to receive sneers, and insults, one man even spit on him before threatening to call the police on him.

Homeless Man on Bench

Riley gave up for the afternoon feeling defeated as he again failed to find a person with an ounce of human compassion. He walked away from the park, and over to a nearby grocery store when he noticed a woman in the parking lot with a flat tire.

Her car looked just as rough as he did. One of the doors was a different color than the rest of the car, and there was visible rust on a few different areas of her car. She was a heavyset woman who was breathing laboriously as she changed her tire.

Riley offered her his assistance in changing the tire, but the woman politely refused. She told him that her father taught her how to change a tire when she was a teenager, and she was fine.

Riley looked around to see several people who insulted him earlier were snickering at the robust woman changing her tire. Riley decided to offer his assistance anyway and grabbed the dirty flat tire just as the woman finished removing the last lug nut.

She didn’t object since she already summoned all of her strength to remove the lug nuts.

Riley carried the tire to the back of her car, while she took the spare from her trunk and carried it over to replace it.

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She had already gotten the tire back on, and Riley had returned just in time to help her tighten the lug nuts again.

She humbly thanked Riley for his assistance. She said to him, “Mister I can see that you are homeless and hungry. I was not planning on stopping here, but as you know my tire was flat. The deli here has the best chicken tender sandwiches. I want to get one to eat, and I will buy one for you too, and a drink if you want.“

Riley looked up at her, and said, “I am very hungry. You are the first person in the last nine days who offered to help me.”

“Mister I am struggling myself, but I know what it is like to be hungry. You will have a good meal this evening, but that’s all I can do to help you. Sometimes I can barely afford to feed myself,” she said with a tear in her eye.

“Those days are about to change for you,” Riley said.

“What do you mean mister,” she asked?

“I use to work very hard all of the time. Sometimes I worked seven days a week, but I still lived paycheck to paycheck. It didn’t matter what I did, I could not seem to get ahead. I was only marking time, but I was surviving,” Riley said.

“Six months ago something happened that disrupted my routine of working hard all the time to make ends meet, my life hasn’t been the same since. Six months ago I won the lottery.”

“Sorry mister, I don’t believe that. You don’t look like somebody who just won the lottery,” She said.

“Give me five minutes, and I can prove it. Just wait here for five minutes please, okay?”

Riley walked away towards the back of the parking lot where a shiny black Porsche was parked. He got inside of it and drove it over to where the woman was parked and stepped out of the car with an envelope in his hand which he handed to the woman.

“Here, take it,” Riley said. “There is some money in here for you, $5,000. Go ahead count it.”

As she counted the money, Riley took off his shirt and reached for a Polo shirt that was sitting in his car. Then he removed the dingy, sweat pants he was wearing, revealing a nice pair of Docker shorts underneath and replaced his raggedy shoes with nicer ones.

Those who were snickering before were still watching with a surprised look on their faces.

She had a look of shock on her face but managed to say, “Yes there is $5,000 here mister. Thank you, you have no idea how much this means to me.”

“Now that I look slightly more presentable, how about you join me for a bite to eat at the restaurant next door? My treat.”

“After we eat we can go to a tire shop, and I will buy you new tires for your car, the other ones look rough too. On your next day off we will meet at your bank, and bump up your account balance.”

“Why me,” she asked slightly trembling?

“Because you deserve a helping hand,” Riley replied. “Come on, let’s go eat.”

Riley had finally found someone who deserved his financial assistance. His humanitarian experiment was now complete.

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