I want to tell you today about one very patient, friendly and kind lady who sells 'Big Issue' in Leamington Spa. I am not sure if you know what 'Big Issue' is? It's a magazine sold on the streets by homeless and long-term unemployed people. It helps vulnerable people take control of their lives as they are working, not begging. Do you know a proverb 'Give man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach man to fish and you will feed him for life'? I think the 'Big Issue' idea is a it like 'teaching a man to fish' as it gives homeless people an opportunity to earn a legitimate income and ‘helps them to help themselves’.
So, getting back to the lady who sells 'Big Issue' in Leamington Spa... I remember seeing this lady since we moved to Leamington from Woking many years ago. She was always standing in front of various stores on the main street and offering 'Big Issue' magazine to passers-by. I never really took much of a notice of her, couldn't really tell how she looks like, I never stopped to buy a magazine from her and wasn't even interested in what she was selling.
Anna was not much better than me and when offered a magazine she used to smile and answer politely 'No, thank you'. She noticed however that 'the Big Issue lady' always smiled back. She never looked upset that Anna is not buying a magazine from her, she never cursed anyone, said a bad world or shown any signs of disappointment. At some point she no longer was offering Anna a magazine, but she always smiled at her.
One day, good few years ago, just before Christmas Anna was doing her Christmas presents shopping, she passed by 'the Big Issue lady' as usual, the lady smiled at her, Anna smiled back and carried on going. At some point however she started thinking about 'the Big Issue lady', how nice she is, how hard she works standing on the street for hours in the rain, in the snow, no matter what the weather, how friendly she is, how she always smiles sincerely and kind. At that point Anna went to Thornton's and got a big box of chocolates and went back to see 'the Big Issue lady'.
Anna explained to her how she was passing by her for years and never stopped, never bought a magazine, but still always was offered a smile and a friendly look. She told 'the Big Issue lady' how she feels about her, how she admires her determination, patience and kindness. They had a good chat about everything, Anna bought her first 'Big Issue' magazine and gave the lady box of Christmas chocolates.
That was good few years ago and since then, every time when Anna sees 'the Big Issue lady' they hug, kiss, exchange few words. Anna also introduced me to her new friend and I also always stop for a chat with this lovely lady. She doesn't have an easy life, but she has a lot of faith in God and that whatever happens in our lives, good or bad, is for the best. She is kind, friendly and very open to people. Her kind attitude and friendly smiles brought up good in Anna and that's how the world becomes a better place.
I hope you live your life in a way that brings the best in others and spreads love, care and kindness.