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The Aquilian

In order to be happy, you gotta help people!

The interior of Union Station, where many Gonzaga students travel. When they exit here, they come face to face with the homeless people in DC. (Photo from TripSavvy)
By Jesse Dolojan—

One day, I’m walking from Union Station, and it’s pouring rain. I had an awful day so far, so I’m in a horrible mood. I grab Chick-Fil-A from inside Union Station, two sandwiches and a cookie, and I am now making my way towards campus.

 I see a lady standing around, but I don’t take a good look at her. She shouts something at me about money, and without thinking, I shoot her a glare. Our eyes meet for the first time, and her face morphs into a scowl. She begins to shout about how I’m nothing and how I will not amount to anything. As I walk past her, I don’t feel angry towards her. I am not afraid, and I feel no animosity towards her. Rather, I feel like I deserve this. I took my anger out on her when she did nothing wrong. 

After I walked past her, I don’t feel any better eating my Chick-Fil-A. I don’t feel better about the initial glare either. If anything, I feel sad, sad that I took my anger out on someone rather than try to help them. 

About a year later, I again walk down the street a few blocks from Union Station, and I look up at the sky. It’s such a beautiful day with the sun starting to set and the sky not knowing what color it’s supposed to be anymore. I enter a Subway and order a Chicken and Bacon Ranch Sub with two cookies. I head out, looking for a place to enjoy my food. 

A man stops me, and I take a good look at him. He is fitted with an old coat, a black beanie, tattered shoes and jeans. He had a scraggly beard and long, unkempt hair. 

It took me five seconds to realize that he was a homeless person, just like the lady in the rain. It has been almost more than a year from when I had my encounter with the woman in the rain. He looks at me and asks if he can have a cookie. 

I look into my bag and grab all of my cookies and say, “You can have all of them.”

“Really?” the man asks.

 I smile as I hand him the bag of cookies, to which he responds with his own timid smile. He starts walking away, and I begin to make my way towards campus.  

I walk away and feel as if I had done a good deed; I helped redeem myself from my initial blunder from the past year. After reflecting on these moments, I wonder why I didn’t give him the sub, too. 

As I walk back to campus, I feel much more gratified and happy when I offer to give my food to people who need it more than me; I feel like I was giving it to the world. In contrast, when I am rude to the homeless, I feel horrible, like I deserve whatever negative that happens to me. 

After noticing these differences in my feelings,  I start being nicer to people and being more willing to help, and I feel happier now than I have ever felt in my life. Because of this, I believe little things like being kind and helping others is one of the few ways that we can be truly happy. 

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    Pam ValeirasApr 26, 2021 at 12:03 pm