On the streets of NYC: my son, a homeless-man and me

I was rushing to church with my son last Sunday, and we walked past a homeless man.

“Can you spare any change or a cup of coffee,” he says in a wispy voice as I glance at him and step one foot in front of the other. My son looks at his face.

As I turn the corner, passing a small store, something inside of me says, “This place has coffee. Buy him one.”

I tell my son, “Let’s see if this store has some coffee for that man, ok?” he smiles at me as we break the threshold with a little ring from a bell above the door. I ask the person working there if they sell coffee, right as I saw the coffee maker, full.

Hand in hand, my son and I break back out into the cold winter air. And we go around the brick corner and see the man standing a few feet from us.

“Would you like some coffee?” I ask him.


“We’ll get you some.”

We turn and he follows. We go back through the door to the small store “ding.” And, I point at the coffee maker.

“Thank you,” he says quietly.

“You want a large coffee, right?” as I reach into my pocket for some cash to pay the cashier.

“God bless,” I say to him as we walk out the door.

“God bless, in Jesus’ name,” he says back to us.

“Uh, yes, in Jesus’ name.”

The harsh wind hits our face. But somehow it feels warmer. My son looks at me with a smile.

And as I walk, I contemplate what just happened.

I hope that my son sees him not as a poor person or a homeless person, but as a person.

And, when he encounters someone asking for help that he wouldn’t just bristle but would thaw.

Perhaps he could see that if life deals him a certain set of cards he could find himself on a corner on a cold gray day with his hand extended.

And that providing a small act of kindness is like kissing the hand of God.


  1. What a BEAUTIFUL moments so filled with faith… as well as GREAT blessings…


    1. John Pa says:

      Thanks, John! Hope you’re well, friend.


  2. Gloria M Herbert says:

    What a beautiful and teachable moment for your son! Thank you for showing compassion to a fellow human being! God bless you in Jesus’ name!


    1. John Pa says:

      Thank you, Gloria. I hope he tries to be a great person. God bless you, too, friend.


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