I was eating my fast food lunch on a patio enjoying the sun. It was just a quick meal before getting down to work on an ordinary day. Then came the inconvenient interruption. A young woman and her 5-year-old daughter approached me and asked if I could help them with money for lunch.
I was caught off guard. Usually the people who ask for help are guys who looked like they were on drugs or had too much to drink. This young woman was well dressed, trendy. It was awkward. I had no cash. I was in the middle of eating. She was earnest and I could tell she really just wanted food. So I picked up my tray and took her and her daughter into the store to buy them a meal on my credit card. She had even brought some coupons.
He didn’t take responsibility
I went back outside to my table. I didn’t feel comfortable sitting down with them to eat lunch, but I had this nagging suspicion that there might be a story of a non-committed guy in her life. I threw out my trash, went in for a refill and looked for them. They were sitting just in front of the refill station. I went over and started up conversation again.
She told me about an abusive guy in her life that had not taken responsibility. Here they are now, on their own, trying to make it. What connected with me was that the little girl was 5 years old and just had her first day of Kindergarten. Her mom didn’t even have money to take her to lunch. She was also about the same age as my little girl.
I don’t know the specifics of the situation. But one thing do I know: being a single parent is incredibly challenging. And this is the legacy this guy left behind – he didn’t take responsibility for his own kid. That’s how she is going to remember him.
How do you want to be remembered?
It made me wonder. What kind of man do I want to be known as? Do I want my daughter to remember me as one who abandoned her? Who abused her mom? Who didn’t provide for her? Who was uninvolved in her life? Of course not.
There seems to be a popular belief that men don’t have to commit and follow through on our actions and commitments. But that’s not true. If you are going to have a child, try everything in your power to make sure that she has all she needs to mature and grow and be protected and provided for. And remember that the way you treat the women in your life says a lot about what kind of man you are.
This brief lunchtime encounter left me with a lot to think about. I feel compassion for the mom and daughter. I feel angry with the guy because he didn’t stand up and provide for them. I don’t know the circumstances of this guy’s life, but in a way I feel bad for him as well. What a sad legacy to leave for a little girl. It was her first day of Kindergarten and he wasn’t part of the celebration.