I grew up very poor and with a single mom in the throws of addiction. Often there was no money for food, and I was hungry a lot.

On my fifth birthday (1986), a couple close family members were invited to go to a park to celebrate my birthday. No cake, no presents, not a problem. Except for my auntie. She had an envelope in her hand.

Before everyone sang happy birthday, I saw a little boy, probably my age, and a woman, digging in the park dumpster for food. Something happened to me. I begged my mom to invite them to my party but my mother was not a fan of strangers. She said no.

I was intrigued, I didn't know others struggled like me, it hurt my heart. I watched them as everyone sang. I watched them when my auntie handed me an envelope. I watched them as I opened it until I saw the contents, a crisp 100 dollar bill. My mother was enraged that my auntie would give me such a large amount of money. I think my auntie trusted me more than my mother with cash.

We were poor, I didn't eat 3 days a week, I had a very hard childhood. But I had never dug in a dumpster for food.

My auntie kept talking over my mother, telling me, I can do ANYTHING I want with that money. So I did. I walked to the dumpster to the boy and his mother. I explained to the boy that it was my birthday and my one present was a $100, and I wanted to give it to them. There were so many tears and thank yous.
姑姑一直在说服妈妈,她告诉我我能随意支配这笔钱,所以我就自己拿主意了。我朝垃圾箱旁边的男孩和他妈妈走过去,我向男孩解释说那天是我的生日,我收到了 $100的礼物,我想把钱给他们。他们感动得痛哭流涕,说了很多感谢的话。

I, and my auntie, understood how powerful it was to give the only money I've ever seen away. My mother never did. I paid dearly for the action that night. But it was worth it.

I think about that boy and his mother often.