He’s got that “GRATITUDE GRIN”…

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Childcare, Health/Medical

It’s been an incredible few weeks… from unveiling our donation of a medical clinic to Casa Hogar Selma & Herbert Trisker to meeting with global organizations ready to help with all the other needs; staffing, nutrition, activities, mentoring, etc.  I begin to be overwhelmed with the progress & support coming in from around the globe.

But, that’s not what this entry is about.  This is about GRATITUDE!  You see, I met a young man last night on the way to dinner with friends/volunteers.  He approached us asking for food.  He could not actually say the words, he’s mute.  However, when someone is telling you they are hungry it doesn’t take much imagination to figure it out.  So,  I motioned for him to come with us.

We grabbed a table with one of our donors (Jim, Boquete Outdoor Adventures), an extra seat & placed our orders.

He enjoyed our antics, regardless of the fact that he couldn’t understand our English (later we realized he doesn’t even understand his native language, Spanish).  He sat with us, smiling & grinning ear to ear.  He’d burst into laughter at times, showing off his dimples.  He scarfed down a plate of chicken & fries, then a milkshake, then the rest of my sandwich & then the rest of the girls leftovers.  Men (of all ages) are pretty easy to please, just feed ’em!

After dinner I didn’t want to just leave him in the street, so we opted  try to figure out where he lived… if anywhere.  We made a brief stop at my house to gather a few things for him.

Communication as rudimentary as it was, had told  us 2 things.  He had been hungry & cold.  So, I gave him one of my most prized possessions – my snuggie.  If you don’t know what a snuggie is, sit back & pay attention.  It’s genius & a must for every home.  It’s a blanket with sleeves!  Some even have pockets on the chest for the television remote…  It was THE gift this year with my family.  I believe we counted nearly 47 that had purchased & given out between my grandma & 3 of my aunts.

In addition to the snuggie, we rounded up some clean clothes too.  I gave him a couple of shirts, a pair of pants, socks & a pair of tennis shoes that I never wear & barely did when I bought them.  MC & Allie pitched in more food & a couple of baseball caps (what every boy needs).

Soon we headed out to try to find his home & amazingly enough we found a dark, dilapidated place behind our office that he motioned to pull over at.  He then hugged us & squeezed his way through an old iron gate to disappear into the darkness.

He had been so gracious & had given us all a warm heart for the day.  Hard to tell whose lives were impacted more…

Now, just 24hrs. later we see him again.  This time he’s proudly wearing one of our GHA t-shirts, my old tennis shoes, a Durham Bulls baseball cap & a grin from ear to ear.  He can’t tell us Thank You, but his smile & hugs tell us all we need to know.

Why can’t we all be this grateful to those who make our lives better?  Our families, our friends, our girlfriends or boyfriends, our kids, or even our barista at Starbucks… We at least have the ability to vocalize our gratitude, yet often enough we don’t.  We let opportunities pass that could be feeding our souls.

Well, I won’t forget his grin or the way I felt seeing our gifts appreciated so greatly.

Tonight I took him to the store for sandwich stuff & a bar of soap.  Tomorrow, he has asked for a haircut.  All simple things that are making his life easier & enriching mine.

I’ve decided to do some homework & see if anyone knows him & to see if there is family around.  We’re going to take him to the doctor to see if anything can be done to help him speak.  If not, we will BOTH be learning sign language!

I’m going to take a buddy of mine, Luchini, over to the dark & overgrown property that I dropped him off at just an hour ago to see how we can improve his living conditions as well.  Luchini owns a couple of bars & hotels, & loves to HELP!

Our new friend’s “gratitude grin” is a reminder that it is so simple to change the world… for someone at some point.  Keep it simple & see the impact.  I may not be able to give him the ability to speak, but I can give him the ability to smile.  Tell someone how grateful you are for their impact on your life & see how they smile too.

See how many “gratitude grins” you can cause today & everyday.

I love you all, Thank You!


robb pickett

  1. ian says:

    “I may not be able to give him the ability to speak, but I can give him the ability to smile.” Love it! Thanks for sharing this story Robb.

  2. Stephanie Rudat says:

    Awesome post. Shared it with Mark Horvath, aka @hardlynormal on Twitter, who is the founder of InvisiblePeople.tv. He’s a formerly homeless tv exec that has taken the digital world by storm by showcasing the moment -to-moment reality of homelessness with video interviews, pictures & posts. I know he’ll love your story.

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