A lesson in generosity: How one woman helped a stranger afford insulin

I waited in line at the pharmacy, a familiar chain store. The man in front of me waited patiently for the technician to ring up his meds. I overheard her say to him, “$125.00. That includes your insulin.”

The man bowed his head and smiled politely, showing many missing teeth. He was dressed modestly. I did not know his name. I did not know him. I had never met him before. With downcast eyes, he said, “I don’t have dat kind of money.” He slowly walked away.

I’ve always been a giver. Daddy taught me that. When I was five years old, standing on a NYC corner, there was a disheveled man who had a trash bag as his “suitcase.” My dad pulled out his wallet, tapped the man on the shoulder, handed him a $20 bill, and said, “Have a good day, my man.”

Dad did not know his name or who he was. That was my first and everlasting impression of giving to someone less fortunate. No questions, just the gift of love. The old man turned from the pharmacy technician and slowly shuffled away. My heart was broken, and I spoke up. “Can I pay for him?”

The tech said, “Really?” I said yes. The tech yelled out, “Sir, come back; you can have your medicine.” He was in disbelief and asked me several times if I was sure. I reassured him I was sure. Granted, he could potentially apply for Medicaid, but no questions were asked. I showed him where to sign that he was receiving the medications on the computer screen. He profusely thanked me, “Ma’am, thank you. God is good,” he said, shaking his head. “God is good.”

I write this with tears in my eyes, not to receive a pat on the back but to share the message we were taught long ago. A simple message, like love one another. I was able to pay for his medication. I thank my dad for his everlasting message of being good to other people. That old-time hymn came back to me: singing at church mass during our elementary school with our school uniforms on: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me …”

Tears. And thankful that for this moment, I could help out a fellow brethren. No judgment, just love in my heart.

Debbie Moore-Black is a nurse who blogs at Do Not Resuscitate.


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