This is Important: COOKIESEllie McElvain

I love cookies. Me and cookies – it’s real.This isn’t summer fling, this isn’t May-December, this is NOT that weird thing where it’s like “what are we??” and he’s stupid handsome, like, “Why do we have to label it babe?” and you’re like, “Yeah, okay, I get it, we totally don’t (WHAT ARE WE?)”

This is a loving, emotionally open and supporting, lasting relationship for me. Cookies are my rock. My #1 boo. So, when I was having a rough week at the office and developing an eye twitch from stress and started crying because someone didn’t hold an elevator for me, I decided I needed two cookies. I ate the first one quickly (delish!) and then took the other one to eat on my walk back to the Excel spreadsheet.

I work in Chicago and as usual en route, I passed a homeless man. He was really homeless – a wheelchair, super sad eyes, the whole thing. Not that some people are less homeless but this man looked thoroughly beaten up by life. He held a McDonald’s cup limply. There were maybe three coins within.

I thought about my cookie. I thought about my eye-twitch. I thought about his leathery skin. Two seconds ago my inner monologue was very, “I deserve this! I look at Excel spreadsheets all day!” and then in the blink of an eye it became, “Nope. I have everything.”

That’s heavy and not entirely true – I deserve things, cookies even – but I had a moment.

So I walked up to the guy, a little timid, because there are a lot of nice homeless people but also many who aren’t in their right mind and can be scary or lewd. I said, “I bought this cookie but it was my second one. I took a small bite out of it, but like, I promise it’s not gross.” I held out the cookie.

He had been nodding along to my explanation, seeming confused, and then his eyes grew wide and I flinched. He noticed that I flinched but he whispered, gravelly, “You’re an angel.”

If you give a mouse a cookie, he'll be very grateful and call you an angel and not even ask for milk at all.

I’m not an angel. Oh my God, I’m absolutely not an angel. That’s not humble, that’s just like a serious truth. Other people do way, way more for the disenfranchised with their pinky than I will probably do in my lifetime. Imagine I’m making scales out of my hands: Red Cross devoting their lives to service, me buying too many cookies – the Red Cross hand is tipped much higher. But the fact that you can resemble something of an angel to someone just by offering him a cookie is important.

Many have strong opinions about the homeless deserving their lot in life, which I oppose just by feeling it in my bones, but I’m not quite educated enough to talk welfare policy. So, here’s my cookie policy: you don’t know whether the man or woman on the corner is the devil incarnate or Ryan Gosling getting way into method acting but it’s probably just a human being who has had a difficult, hard life. If you can swing it, offer them a cookie.

You know what? Maybe cookies are angels.

Feature image via sbahlemarwa.wordpress.com
Other image via backyardgardener.com

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  1. What a lovely story. I had a similar one once. I gave a homeless woman a mickey mouse lollipop from disneyland. It was in San Francisco, so not very near Disneyland. She was so happy and grateful. She didn’t call me an angel, but that’s how she made me feel.

  2. that was lovely of you!!! :)

  3. This made my night :)

  4. This was beautiful :)

  5. Wonderful article! You had me all misty eyed. so sweet.

  6. Good for you! My personal theory on giving things to homeless people is that if I have something to give, I will. I think it is my duty that if someone asks for help and I’m able to give it, then I need to. And if it turns out they’re lying, well that’s their problem to deal with and not mine. Great article!

  7. i <3 cookies and now this article awsome!:) im glad im not the only one the only one whos feels like this.

  8. If I had a cookie for every time I wish it WAS Ryan Gosling getting way into method acting…le sigh and some drool, am I right? Why did Ryan Gosling as a homeless man still looked sexy in my head? Never mind that. I love this post. I have been far too selfish with my cookies. Honest, I have. I even have the hips and the ass to prove it. I hereby vow to share cookies if the opportunity presents itself. Cookies are heaven in a box (sometimes bag).

  9. This was very touching! And then I went back to my Twitter feed and the Tweet immediately below: “The message of love and compassion will travel far and wide if all who follow a spiritual path work together in harmony and mutual respect.” The Dalai Lama. It seemed fitting. :)

  10. I’ve done the same thing before when I was on holiday in South Africa actually. I was in a car with some friends, and it was a boiling hot day and we’d just been to McDonald’s and there was a guy standing at the traffic lights with a sign saying he needed money to feed his family. He wasn’t even wearing a t-shirt, and as I couldn’t access my purse easily, I wound down my window and gave him my drink that I had barely touched. He was so thankful. While it does’t seem like much, I think that little things like this really help brighten both peoples’ day. You helped someone, which is great for that person, but it also gives you a good feeling for actually bothering to do something nice. I know we can’t help everyone every time, but hopefully people will occassionally help out when they see someone in need.