The Old Man And Charity
The whole city was frozen, and heavy snowfall had covered the streets. An old man was walking on the frozen streets with his cane, slowly but steadily, as you would expect from an honorable gentleman.
The old man had just received his weekly salary and was on his way to the charity that he had been helping for the last forty years.
“I haven’t seen these streets this empty before; where is everyone?” the old man thought to himself. “Well, I’m sure wherever they are, they are occupied with life and its problems, like myself.”
Thinking about life and its problems made him remember his wife’s cancer, the disease that had been affecting them for more than half a decade.
“All of our life savings, all the money we kept for our grandchildren’s college, were spent on doctors and drugs without any considerable effect. Not even a heartwarming sentence like ‘even if it doesn’t help her completely, it will at least make her live longer.’ No, they just said: it could be efficient or not, there is no guarantee.”
He tried his best not to remember the conversation he accidentally overheard between two young men in the hospital.
“How much do these dinosaurs want to live? Just die and let us use the resources too,” the first young man had said.
“It’s all medical advancement’s fault. Otherwise, they would have been fossils by now,” the other one had answered.
“Aren’t they fossils already?” both of them had laughed.
The old man looked at his gloves: one of them had a huge hole in it, but he knew he couldn’t complain about it because it had been his loyal companion on cold days for five years.
“I wish I could say my children are happy, but no. They are too busy with their own lives. None of them have visited their mom and me in six months. But who could blame them? They have their own children to take care of, and God knows taking care of someone is not like it used to be. Sure, it was hard back then too, it was expensive and time-consuming like now, but the most significant difference was you had hope. You had hope that because of the things you did for them, they would have a happy life or at least a better life. But now, all you could say is it could be efficient or not, there is no guarantee.”
The old man started shivering, either because of the snow or the thoughts visiting his mind.
He decided to do the same thing he had been unconsciously doing for the last two decades - going to his safe place, visiting old memories and reliving them again. Even if reliving these memories didn’t make him happy, they at least made him forget his sadness and responsibilities for a while.
Memories about the times when he felt he was wild and free, and sometimes even invincible, like all the young people think from time to time.
He didn’t know how long he had been in his safe place, but it must have been a while because he could now see the charity’s building from afar.
Seeing the charity building, the old man came back from his memories to reality as fast and unconsciously as he went there.
“When I was young, it was hard to go to university too, but it didn’t require five people’s salary. One hardworking young man with a one-shift job could pay the prices, but now, my grandchildren, God bless them, they could not…”
He cut his thought because he remembered his father’s advice; “When you want to help others, do not think about money; otherwise, you either won’t help them, or you will turn it into a business.”
He wanted to donate ten percent of his salary to charity, the deed he had been doing since his first salary. Because, as his father used to say, an honorable man works hard for himself, but a strong, honorable man not only works hard for himself but also shares the results of his hard work with others.
The old man stopped in front of the charity box; he opened his wallet, put out some cash, and was putting it in the box when he saw a sentence on the box. Petrified, he put his money back into his wallet, returned to the road to go back home, and decided never to help anyone again.
The sentence was: “Helping others makes you live longer.”
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