Are you for real A co-worker of mine, Candace Perry, broadcast the following note to her Facebook friends Tuesday night. It’s striking.

It’s after work and I’m in my business casual, walking through the mall having just bought a not-so-scrumptious dinner of Sbarro’s pizza when I see a sad sight before my eyes.

A girl, probably about 12 years old, of the tomboyish type with short brown hair, is kinda hobbling along. Her left leg is in a cast of some sort. It crosses my mind that I’d seen this girl a bit earlier, walking in the same condition — looking rather lost with a super sad face. Destitute was the word that came to mind. Well, not really destitute as far as her clothes went, just the expression on her face was. As I get closer to her, she looks at me with that look you can recognize anywhere — you know, the look that says “I need help, can you help me?!” I immediately start wondering what she’s about to ask me … could it be that this poor little orphan child was abandoned by her parents and has no way to get home? Could it be that she’s starving and hungry?”

With sad, puppy dog eyes, she asks in a fast, mumblish, barely audible fashion, “Miss, do you have a second?” And I answer, all sympathetic, “Sure,” just knowing she was about to ask me if I had some cash to spare. And even though I didn’t have any on me, I’d do my good samaritan deed for the day and walk back over to the food court and buy her something with my debit card. I had almost kept walking because of that lack of cash, but the look on her face was just THAT sad that I couldn’t help but stop.

But there was no way, absolutely no way I could’ve been prepared for what she said next. With complete seriousness and the same sad face, she says, “I was in this store and they have this new DVD and I was going to buy it, but then they told me they had this other version, the special edition version, and I wanted to buy it but it was $4 more, so I was wondering if you might have $4 to spare?”

I did a double-take, not quite sure I’d heard right.

So I asked her to repeat herself and she repeated the whole “sad” story again.

Yep, I’d heard right.

I was astounded. Was this girl SERIOUS?!!

I then told her no, I didn’t have any cash, sorry.

I wish you could’ve seen the look on her face. It looked like death warmed over. Like she’d just lost her best friend. Like I’d just told her I couldn’t help her get home or like she’d have to wait days for her next meal. I mean the look on her face almost made me turn around and take her to that store to buy the DVD, it was that pitiful. But just in time I caught myself: I had just been begged — FOR A DVD. It wasn’t even that she couldn’t afford the DVD period — she just couldn’t afford the special edition version!! Did I look like I was rich or something, that I had $4 to freely give to anyone who asked for it? Sadly, the poor child would have to wait.

I quickly turned away so she wouldn’t see the laughter bubbling up inside of me that threatened to spill out (and did) as soon as I walked away. Before you say I’m cruel or something, you just have to realize that I was caught completely off guard and so I found the situation in that moment hilarious.

But now that I’m sitting here writing this, I feel sadness washing over me. Sadness that a child would be so oblivious to the world around them that they’d actually stop to beg people to help them get a DVD. I wish I had taken her aside and said “Child, do you REALIZE how many people are starving in this world?! How many people make less than $2 A DAY in developing countries and that the cost of food has gone up so much that they can’t even afford to eat?!! And you’re begging me to get the latest and greatest version of a DVD?!!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that because people are starving we should give up all semblances of fun and entertainment forever. But I am saying that this perspective, that a DVD is a NEED and needed so much that you must beg for it if you don’t have the money for it NOW … WOW. I guess you can’t really blame her for trying, and I know I have lived in an American bubble for much of my life — but wow.

Anyhow, maybe some of you haven’t heard about it yet, but there is a food crisis going on in the rest of the world and tomorrow, June 25th, Compassion International is hosting a Day of Prayer and Fasting to pray for the people, the children, that are in REAL dire situations. AND, did you know that just $13 can feed one child for AN ENTIRE MONTH? Just think: That DVD you were considering buying this month can feed a child for an entire month. Actually, they don’t sell DVDs that cheap so for less than the cost of a DVD you can feed a child for one month. Think about it.

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13 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Jun 25, 2008
    at 4:58 pm

    I’m simply stunned. :(

  2. Jun 25, 2008
    at 9:27 pm

    Me too, Gavin. Wow.

  3. Jun 25, 2008
    at 9:45 pm

    You know it reminds me of the six spokes in the wheel of poverty. That little girl was really very poor and in some ways poorer than some of our Compassion children, because she was poor in the spiritual manner. Satan has used abundance in her life in much the same way as he uses poverty in other people’s lives. It’s sad, isn’t it?


  4. Jun 26, 2008
    at 11:34 am

    This is why Christians in developing countries pray for America–because of our spiritual poverty.

    I can’t imagine what I would have said to that girl, but the end result would have been the same: She’d have had to wait for the DVD.

  5. Jun 26, 2008
    at 1:22 pm

    We are simply spoiled rotten.

  6. Sara
    Jun 26, 2008
    at 1:36 pm

    I just got back from a two week missions trip to Kenya. After seeing how simply and happily the people live, i am shocked daily by how much we think we need to be happy. I feel so sorry for this little girl. She does not realize how blessed she is.

  7. Jun 28, 2008
    at 2:01 pm

    While I do understand the perspective here, I do not think there was anything for the child to ask for that $4. I would not blame her so much, she was just doing what she thought was right in the circumstances and according to the environment she was brought up in.

    If I had money, I would have given her and befriended her. Denying her and leaving her to guess why, was no answer to her perceived depravity and she is just a child.

    Even if we sponsor compassion children, the fact is we have not abandoned our way of life, we still drive our giant SUVs, eat out, go to amusement parks, spend a little more than we should and have loads of clothes in our closets that we will not wear for the next three years before we think of giving them away. We all have more lessons to learn and I just feel that we should be kind to that poor child, whosever child it is. I believe if it was our own child, we would have sacrificed, is that not love? It is wanting good things for everyone.

  8. Jun 29, 2008
    at 1:10 pm

    That leaves me speechless.

  9. Mike Stephens
    Jun 6, 2009
    at 5:34 am

    I thought maybe you could have made a depsosit in her spirtitual bank with a verse

    Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us!!!!!!!”

  10. Dana
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 2:51 pm

    Sadly, this little girl now reflects many of the youth of today. I work in a middle school and constantly hear kids whining about not having the latest cell phone or gaming system or whatever. One teacher asked her class the basic rights people should have. They came up with gun, Nintendo, etc. One one group game up with the right to an education. Their perspectives changed a little when a story about a little girl living in Nepal was read out.

    One girl is on our school lunch program (provided free for those who can’t afford a lunch) but has a $500-600 cell phone. Yes it may have been a gift form someone outside her family, but if finances were really so tight, why not by a less expensive model and help support he family with food. If it WAS her parents, shame on them for scamming the school by claiming they didn’t have enough money for food. One kid’s cell phone wasn’t working, and his friends were hassling him, telling him to get his parents to buy a new one because it had been two days already.

    Many of the children in the school are great kids, most of them in fact, and I don’t blame the children, really, as they are a product of their environment. I would love to organize a trip to a third world country with these children so they can experience how lucky most of them have it here. I’d love for them to see that most of the world doesn’t live as we do. Not that we should deny ourselves everything, but there should be an appreciation for what we do have and a recognition that not everyone is as lucky. I know that was something my parents taught my brother and I.

    How humbling is it to have a SIX year old child thank you for her school fees. My little angel in Tanzania wrote that in a recent letter, thanking me for my sponsorship because it helped pay for her school fees.

  11. Elena
    Nov 23, 2011
    at 12:36 am

    People ARE YOU FOR REAL??? Give the child $4! Some of us spend more than that on one cup of coffee (I don’t drinl coffee). Amen, Isabella I could not have said it any better. This child asked with sincerity and hope. She was in need and honest with her request. Which is the greatest testimony? Walk away laughing at this child or tell her Jesus loves her and give what you could, even if just $1. Yes, there are children dying from hunger in other countries and we Americans are eager to help but, who is helping our own? Record numbers of Children die in America each day from abuse, neglect and starvation. Thousands are subjected to sexual abuse. What foregn country is helping us? Our celebrities adopt foregn children as if they are accesories. Who adopts ours? We don’t know this little girls situation. The little girl was hobbling in a cast. We don’t know if coming home without that DVD would end up in a beating. She obviously had a reason for not asking the adult who drove her to the store for the money. WE DON’T KNOW! But I do know that my scenerio is possible because, I was once that little girl.

    • Elena
      Nov 23, 2011
      at 12:40 am

      Ok, so I spelled drink and foreign incorrectly, It’s 12:30am and I’m exhausted. Haters, please forgive me;-)

      • Jacquie Parella
        Nov 23, 2011
        at 6:00 am

        I dunno Elena — two misspelled words?! I mean one I can forgive…but TWO? LOL! Hope you got some rest. :-) :-)

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