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The Beauty of One Street Person's Selfless Act

In Portland magazine, a priest at a Catholic church in Portland, Oregon, tells a story about a street person named Big Ben who came daily to the church. He writes:

One Christmas Eve we decided to have a special café evening [to minister to the homeless]. An unusually large number of people came. At 9:00 we were down to the last pot of soup, though the hungry line still wove around the block. By 9:30 we were down to the last bowl, and there was Big Ben, face alight with his toothless grin. We filled his bowl to the brim, much to his delight, and that was the last of the last of the soup.
As Ben made his way to the table in the corner, a tiny teenage boy whom none of us had seen before appeared. He looked like he had slept in mud. He was shivering for lack of a coat and his left eye sported a nasty bruise. Seeing that the last of the soup was served, his eyes grew large and it seemed he was going to cry, but he didn't. God knows how long he had waited in line only to find no soup. Some of us were reaching for our wallets when Big Ben appeared with his bowl and handed it to the boy. He then put his hand on the boy's cheek and caressed it as a father would caress his son's, and then mussed the boy's hair, giggled, and wandered off.
It was a tender moment that stood in contrast to the steel, concrete, and cold that too often embrace those without hearth and home. It was a moment that knitted us together a little more tightly, and made me proud of my species. And it made me see, maybe for the first time, why God wanted to be human.

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