Friday, August 24, 2007

Blessings

While I was writing about the myfreeimplants.com site, I was recalling many instances of receiving gifts from generous men in return for nothing. In particular, I always think of my friend Greg who upon finding out I'd been sleeping on a foamie when I was doing the single mom thing (even though he knew I had a boyfriend) - he bought me a bed and delivered it to my house.

Another man I met at the Alder Inn - Rick - gave me tires for my car, put the child seat on my bike for me, and drove me home one night and slept on my couch when I had erroneously gotten too drunk to get myself home.

And a man who called himself "benefactor" on tnt paid for the shirts I gave as gifts to all the dancers at Exotic Embrace for PACE and helped me financially when my car had broken down and I needed to buy another used car. He also gave me money to start a business that I never did start. Because I got pregnant and had no job, I ended up spending a little bit of the money at a time just to get by until it was all gone. He never did expect me to pay him back even though I felt terrible about how I'd failed to use the money for it's original intent. He said it was nothing and not to worry about it.

Two other experiences come to mind:

I was twenty-one years old when a man confronted me in a nightclub about lying to him. He said, “Hi, I met you last week and you told me your name was Tanya, but I found out it’s really Trina.” I looked at him and burst out laughing. Then I apologized for the deception and accepted his offer of a drink. Over the next twenty minutes or so, we exchanged small talk, and I found out he was a tattoo artist working out of a reputable shop in town.

He didn’t chat me up for long, but before he left he said that if I wanted a tattoo, give him a call and he’d do me for free. “Yeah right,” I thought pessimistically. “Nothing in life is free.”

I had grown up with a roof over my head and a feeling of security in my home, but my home was usually in a rough area and poverty was always the theme. I came by my suspicions honestly. I was street smart and wary of strangers – why I lied about my name in the first place.

But I told my girlfriend about his offer and the next day we visited him at the tattoo shop. He showed me a photo album portfolio. In it were pictures of some stunning designs. I flipped through photographs of him tattooing celebrities in the shop where he’d worked in California. He’d come to Kelowna to “dry out,” he told me, admitting he had addictions issues.

The offer for a free tattoo was repeated and we set up a time for later in the evening when the shop wasn’t open. He said, “Bring a friend so you don’t feel uncomfortable.” He was neither pushy nor flirty. And I was baffled.

Still very cautious, I returned that night with a friend and spent 3 ½ hours under the needle. The tattoo was beautiful with fine lines and detailed shading. The artist had a light touch and easygoing tableside manner. At the end of the session, he told me that he was leaving in three days to go back to California. Things weren’t working out as he had planned and his relationship with the shop owner was strained.

I never saw him again. I only remember his first name – Mike. He taught me that some things in life are truly free. A lesson I never forgot.

When I was a server in a pub, a customer came in one day that I’d never met before. He looked tired from a long days work in construction. Upon seeing that his first drink was getting low, I walked over and asked how he was doing. He took that to mean I was asking after his welfare, rather than his drink. He proceeded to entertain me with a long confession of his horrible day.

I could see that some of my customers’ drinks were getting low, but I patiently heard him out and expressed empathy for his experiences. I interrupted once or twice to run drinks out to other customers but as promised, I returned to listen to him. He seemed extremely deflated. My heart went out to him.

When his story was finished, I carried on with my duties. I smiled at him when I passed his table. I replaced his drink once or twice more. Then, when he was ready to leave, he walked up to me and handed me a crumpled bill. “Thank you for listening to me. I really needed to talk.” He left and I finished the run I was on.

When I got back to the server station, I uncrumpled the bill to put in with the rest of my cash and got the surprise of my life. He’d given me a hundred dollars. And I never saw him again.

I could tell numerous stories of generosity without strings. I have been blessed with countless angels showing up with just what I need when I needed it. There are angels disguised as people in this world who are generous because they can be. The world is a better place because of them.