Last week I stopped at Aldi to pick up some of their wonderfully inexpensive avocados, along with a bag of Florida grapefruit. As I exited my car, a man approached me. In a flash, I noted his uneven gait, unshaven face and his worn and dirty clothes.

Let me go on record to say that I have nothing but empathy for those who have fallen on hard times. I understand “personal responsibility”, but also know that sometimes difficult things happen to people for no particular reason. Nevertheless, I homeless manprefer my “giving hand” be spontaneous, not solicited. I detest charity drive phone calls and tend to withdraw when approached in person. The cynic in me wonders if a panhandler is someone really needing my help, or if they intend to spend the money on drugs instead of food.

Annoyed, I reached for my wallet, hoping I had something less than a twenty to share with him. I avoided his gaze, instead reflecting on the irony that my low-cost grocery run would end up costing me considerably more. Before I had my wallet out of my bag, the man was standing in front of me with an outstretched hand. He held a quarter between his fingers. I must have looked as puzzled as I felt.

“For your cart,” he said. He pushed the quarter into my hand and was gone.

For those of you who don’t know, Aldi is a low-cost supermarket. One of their cost-cutting strategies is to require $.25 to access a shopping cart. When you return your cart to the front of the store, you retrieve your quarter, eliminating the need for extra personnel. The stranger had shared his quarter with me as an act of kindness.

Assumptions are so often wrong. What is the purpose of continuing to make them?

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” Isaac Asimov

Resolve to make fewer assumptions in your life and watch your view expand.