Strolling around Dupont Circle today, a nice young man and nice young woman asked me if I had a moment to talk to them about an issue they were working to support. My mind was rabidly focused on the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop that stood mere feet away so I couldn't remember whether their organization was the one I strongly agreed or disagreed with.
"Forgive me -- it's Sunday," I said. "My mind is a little hazy. Are you on the pro side or the anti side? I know you're organization but am drawing a blank on which side of the fence you're on."
He gently said his group was on the former and again asked if I could spare a moment. I paused, staring at my date with glazed greatness and then back at him and his co-worker. I know exactly how hard that job is: Canvassing for a nonprofit or political cause on the streets of any city, let alone one as intensely partisan as Washington D.C., is tough, tough work. Most respondents just ignore you on a good day. They insult you on a bad one. If you stay positive and forget every rejection, though, you just might be able to enlist some passersby to subscribe to your email list, sign a petition or make a donation.
It is truly a thankless job done by hard core believers generally working for next to nothing or volunteering.
But I was craving a taste of the South this morning and just didn't feel like getting political; I told the couple that I wasn't up for it on a very rare day off from work. I inhaled the sweet scent of heaven a second later but immediately felt my sympathies for the youngsters kick in -- not to mention my actual support of their cause.
There was only one thing left to do.
I ordered an extra half dozen doughnuts to go and brought the box to the sidewalk pounders I had just brushed off.
"Here's a little something to give the two of you a boost," I said, presenting the green and white box. "Maybe this will hold you over if you get a little hungry. Keep up the good fight. I'm there with you."
The young man and woman were surprised by the simple good will gesture. The man told me no one has ever done anything like that for them while they were working or expressed support in that way. He choked up, actually. His colleague did, too.
I gave him a smack on the shoulder, win one for the Gipper style, and told him I wished him the very best of luck. I turned and walked away, delighted that I had managed to put smiles on the faces of a pair of people working hard on a Sunday morning to make a difference. I hoped it might give them just enough willpower to press on and pull a few yeses out of No Town.
I used to do stuff like that all the time because performing random acts of kindness is actually a lot of fun. I need to get back in the habit. I should use my Krispy Kreme strategy more often, too -- helping to build a better America one glazed doughnut at a time!