Stumbling on goodness as it unfolds

So there I was at Target this morning, minding my own business. I had my sunglasses on, and was pushing my cart aimlessly through aisles I didn’t need to be in, laying my hands on everything, with no real hurry to be anywhere. This is the most dangerous way to shop Target.

I had planned to go to the Target by my house, but I was closer to another one after having dropped Ruby at her carpool to camp. I had a short list of things to grab—hand soap, a greeting card, jeggings for the girl—but I took my time to get upstairs to the kids’ department.

I rode the escalator to the top, fetched my cart from the fandangled cart-mover-upper-thingy, and veered toward the girls’ department…that happened to be over-run with the most joyous children I’ve ever seen, clutching bundles of clothes to their chests.

The kids, each wearing a Padres shirt with the name HUNDLEY and the number 4 on the back, were accompanied by pretty young women saying things like, Ooooh, I love the sparkles on that shirt you picked out! and That looks a little big for you…let me help you find the right size… and No, we’re not getting dresses today, honey, just shorts and tops so you can play on the playground.

The children were laughing and gleeful. The girl in red pants up there doing The Dougie pretty much says it all. I was awestruck.

Three Target employees standing at the ready to assist the group, explained to me that the children were on a shopping spree, courtesy of Padres catcher Nick Hundley (in cooperation with Target and Nike), who was using his own money to buy a few back-to-school clothing items for students of the Monarch School. It was at this point that I pushed my cart to the side, and began my signature public crying, because I knew what that meant.

These kids look like any other kids, and act like them, too. But what you can’t see is that they are homeless.

I watched for a few minutes alongside the Target employees, who were also tearful, and thought of disparity and hope. I thought of desperation and abundance. I thought of the coexistence of these things, and how easy it is to live right next to it, and still be oblivious to it. This shopping spree was a beautiful bit of push-back in a world that is flush with ugly news. I know these kinds of charitable events are not uncommon, but it was something to be present in the moment.

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