Bill Clinton’s Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World may have inspired Oprah Winfrey to create The Big Give, a television show based on the premise that people will enjoy giving money away, even if it’s not their own. I’ll admit to being somewhat skeptical of the concept.
Recently, one of my friends moved to Philadelphia. Before leaving, she gave me her spare change and asked me to give it to a homeless person in Berkeley. The change came in two plastic bags, so I thought the best thing to do was to give the money to two homeless people.
I gave away one of the bags today. The man I gave it to was holding onto a Big Gulp cup with only a few coins inside. He was about my height, weighed a little less, and had a white beard. Upon receiving the bag, he appeared surprised. I turned to walk away, already feeling good, as if I had come up with this idea on my own.
“Shook real!” I thought I heard him say. I continued walking.
He repeated himself, and this time it sounded like he was trying to speak a foreign language in his patently American voice. He repeated himself yet again, and I finally understood. Shukriya! I turned around.
“You’re welcome!” I called out. In that instant, my skepticism ebbed. Thanks, Neelam!