Living in La Belle France
Here is food for thought. How would you treat your fellow man in this situation?
Between Christmas and New Year I went to Carcassonne to have coffee and lunch at my favorite cafe Le Petit Moka at La Place Carnot.
Walking towards La Place, a man was sitting on the cold cement opposite the church with his hat in front of him for donations. I greeted him and placed 2 euros in his cap. This is a pedestrian only street and I moved quickly, wrapping my scarf around me, to the cafe. Ordered a cup of coffee and a salad chevre chaude ( salad warm goats cheese on toasted bread). Finishing my delicious lunch, I spent the next hour, with the hum of French being spoken around me working on setting my dreams and visions for 2015 and then left the cafe to go to the bank.
Passing the fellow begging, I noticed a woman opposite him, near the entrance of the church, who had her legs wrapped up against the cold bitter wind and freezing cement. He had a lot of money in his cap and she only had one small coin. Thought it might be a treat for her to have something warm to eat and had just passed a shop that was selling baguettes, pizza and quiche. Immediately I turned around, went into the shop and ordered a pizza. When asked if meat or no meat, I choose meat since the majority of French people eat copious amounts of foie gras, steak, ham and bacon. Ordered one with ham, walked the short distance back to the church and offered the warm pizza to the woman. She looked up to me with big blue eyes and said to me in French ” Madame is there any meat?’ Surprised, I said “”yes “and she said ” Madame, I am a vegetarian, perhaps the man across would like it”. Walked across the street, offered him the pizza which he accepted with a huge grin and without a second thought, back to the shop for another. Back again, handing the pizza to the woman I said” Madame, here is another pizza with mushrooms and no meat”. She was very grateful and thanked me many times with her hand over her heart. Perhaps I met the only vegetarian beggar in France!
I admired her for sticking to what she valued and makes for a much better story than if she had accepted the pizza.
Now the most interesting part, the reactions of my friends on facebook when I posted this story.
Comment:Funny you found a vegetarian panhandler….probably better off financially than you! Lots of people do that when they don’t need to!
My Reply: Very interesting comment. Can’t imagine anyone sitting on freezing cement with legs wrapped up against the cold is doing it as a form of entertainment. Her financial situation is not my business. My intention was to give her some warm food to eat.
Her Reply: Well you did Diana Allen and that is what is most important. I don’t think I said or meant entertainment, by the way. Happy New Year!
Comment: ah, picky panhandlers, how utterly french! Happy everything to you, Diana, all joy in the new year, and more.
Comment: Love the kindness you showed those people Diana! Have a great New Years!
Comment: You are an angel who walks on this earth ! many blessings to you sweet sister sending you all my love happy new year
Comment: Nice story of sharing your abundance Diana! May 2015 bring you continued growth, and success after an epic 2014. Happy New Year!
This is an opportunity to look deeper into yourself. What would you have done? What response would you have had to her refusing the pizza? There are many different thoughts you could have had. For example: She must not be very hungry; she could have taken the ham off and eaten the rest.
Would you have gone and gotten her a pizza without meat or said too bad you don’t like this one so I’ll just go on my way.
There is no right or wrong way in this situation, the question to ask yourself is what would I do?
My intention was very clear – get her something warm to eat, so that is what I did.
PS. Every time I go to Carcassonne, I look for this woman, The man is always there, with the look of a street person, dirty clothes and unkept.
I keep thinking of her, the powder blue shawl shawl covering her hair, her porcelain like face and beautiful smile as she thanked many times me for the pizza, with her hand over her heart.
Perhaps she was an angel