• Tiye Naeemah Cort

I Just Wanted Some Bubble Tea...

Today, I went to work EARLY in the morning- it’s a new thing I do, you should try it, and I felt super productive. Last night, I prepared my work clothes, workout clothes, and all the things I needed to run some errands, and I even set my alarm a little earlier than normal because I was feeling ambitious. I woke up on time, got ready, made my to-go cup of yerba mate/Lipton tea, chugged a yogurt, and headed out the door. I got to work on time, and my entire shift was pretty chill. After work, I did a cycling class, which kicked my butt, but it felt so good to be there, to sweat, and to get my heart rate going.

This is 27. God has blessed me with this beautiful body, a body with beauty that emanates from the inside out. As I get older, I have to do more to maintain that beauty. I have to do more than LOOK healthy- I have to BE healthy, and while I still have the ability to do more, prevent more, and grow more, I intend to take full advantage. In the midst of doing SoulCycle classes 2-3 times a week instead of once a month, and cooking at home (after throwing away my beloved bottle of sodium-drenched Adobo), I was recently faced with a couple of health issues to which I was already genetically predisposed, that now force me to make major changes in attempts at reversal. By major changes, I mean the way I eat and exercise.

So, being the human that I am, I have decided that Fridays will be when I treat myself after a week of a diet restricted to foods that I like, but usually pass by in the grocery store. As a creature of habit, I have a semi-healthy Japanese spot that I hit up on my way home from work for a healthy low-sodium lunch and a bubble tea.

Today was a little bit different. It was a payday, and even though I already had a little pep in my step with the simple knowledge that all my bills were paid BEFORE this payday, I guess today I looked a bit peppier. I’ve purposed it within myself to smile more, so I’m sure my smile didn’t do much to ward off any unwanted attention. I’m used to catching the eyes of people because I'm tall, and with today’s top bun, I’m sure I was at least 6 ft. this afternoon. I looked happy. I looked approachable. I looked like today was a day when I might say “yes”.

I was walking to my Japanese spot, with nothing other than a mango bubble tea on my mind, when I noticed a disheveled looking young man walking toward me. He asked if I had a dollar. Before I could even finish my statement of “I don’t have any cash”, he asked “Do you have any money so I can get something to eat?” I said “I can get you something to eat.” He said “OK… well what kind of food do they have in here?” We were already walking step-in-step to the door of the establishment. We walked through the place to the other end, where the line was out the door. As he walked behind me, I watched people’s eyes as they stared.

Here I was, looking like nothing more than a black yuppie in my SoulCycle sweatshirt, Lululemon leggings, Nike Air Huaraches, and a well-aged Longchamp tote. He walked behind me in a dingy black coat over a dirty maroon hoodie, faded black pants, and beat up sneakers. I was not intending to do a “good deed” today, but I had the extra money, and he wanted food. The decision was simple.

As we waited outside in line, people stared. I asked him his name. “Steven”. He was from Austin. We didn’t have much to talk about, so we waited in almost silence as people around us talked to friends, and I responded to text messages and emails. Once in a while, he would ask someone in line if they had a dollar, and they would respond “no” with a slight frown, then resume their bubbly conversations with friends. Maybe no one in that line had any cash on them, but it was interesting to watch the responses people gave when he kindly interrupted their conversations. To stop him from continuing to move down the line, I asked what he wanted to eat, and he wanted the same thing as me, with a Sprite. OK, Steven.

I pulled out my wallet, a snakeskin Marc Jacobs thing I bought almost 10 years ago. “Is that real?” Yeah, I think so. I held it out for Steven to touch, because he clearly wanted to. “How much did that cost?” I don’t remember. I got it such a long time ago. Awkward smile as he eyed my wallet then looked me up and down, followed by an awkward silence.

While I waited to order, he eventually took a seat at a table, and one of the people behind the counter noticed his disheveledness sitting in their establishment. They kindly asked him who he was with, and he pointed to me. I smiled at the cashier, whom I knew because he filled my order every week, and he confirmed “Are you with-“ He’s with me. He nodded, and allowed Steven to sit at the table. And it really dawned on me then. How many people had Steven asked for money before he asked me and finally got a meal? How many people ignored him when he asked, and continued walking as if some soul wasn’t literally begging them for food? I watched a guy outside completely ignore Steven when he complimented his hat and, once he saw me looking at him because I KNEW he heard the question, reluctantly respond when asked where he bought it.

I ordered the food, Steven added some spring rolls to the order, and I thanked God that I could afford it all. I thanked God for allowing me to meet Steven today. I thanked Him for His perfect timing because I was able to do something for someone else- and not in the way of doing a favor, but REALLY do something that made a difference. It didn’t feel like I was doing a good deed, it felt like I was doing what I could. Period.

I drove home thinking of Luke 12, which is such a nugget-filled chapter. There are times when I have been so anxious, and it did nothing but make me tired and unfocused. Whether I had $7.00 or $7,000 in my bank account, I was always blessed and taken care of.  I thought of verse 48, which says “to whom much is given, much shall be required”. God has absolutely blessed me with much. I'll do another post on appreciating blessings comparatively, but God has provided beyond what I need in every way. I didn’t have physical cash on me, but I knew to take it a step further. What kind of Christian would I be if I allowed myself to deny or weasel my way out of spending twice as much to help someone in need? What kind of message would I have sent if I had ignored him when he asked for help?

I really had to take the time to appreciate my blessings for a minute. I thanked God for the ability to buy my food and food for someone else. Good food, too. I thanked God for working on my heart and making my reaction to this young man warm and heartfelt. I thanked God for allowing Steven and I to share smiles even though we knew nothing about each other. I thanked God for blessing me to be able to bless another. I’m thankful that Steven was thankful and I hope he thanked God, too.


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