On a frigid evening last weekend, an Indiana woman gave her own winter clothes and shoes to a homeless person she saw on the street. In the end, however, the woman says she’s the one who ended up receiving the greater gift -- in the form of two wet and worn boots.
In a Jan. 3 Facebook post that’s gone viral this week, Kelly McGuire, 24, tells the story of the special encounter.
That day, she had gone to Chicago with her husband to watch a football game, she said. While en route to catch the train home, she spotted a homeless woman crouched down low on the street.
“[She was] trying to stay warm,” recalls McGuire, who said she felt inexplicably “drawn” to the stranger.
“I had passed countless amounts of homeless people all day but for some reason I was so drawn to this woman,” she wrote. “I told my friends to please wait for just a moment and I tried to quickly get back across the street to talk with this mystery woman.”
When McGuire got closer, she noticed that the woman -- whose name she learned was Amy -- had a cardboard sign. It read: “I am in need of winter boots and winter clothing items.”
Given the freezing temperatures, McGuire says that she had amply layered up that day, wearing “Under Armor pants and an Under Armor long sleeve shirt along with 2 additional pairs of pants, 4 shirts, 2 sweatshirts, 3 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, a coat, a hat, a scarf, and my favorite new pair of winter boots.”
McGuire said that she had taken off many of these layers while at dinner and had stuffed them into her bag. As she spoke to Amy, McGuire said she became convinced of what she had to do.
“I HAD EVERYTHING IN THAT BAG THAT SHE NEEDED. Shirts, sweatshirts, gloves, scarves, etc. The boots she was wearing were worn and were wet. Mine were warm and waterproof,” wrote McGuire in her Facebook post. “I handed her the bag of clothing and winter items that I had taken off … and my leftover pizza, and told her that I would like to give her my boots.”
McGuire says Amy “stood up and cried” at the gesture. “I sat down with her, untied my boots, and slid off the top layer of my fuzzy warm socks and handed them to her. She said they were the nicest shoes she's ever had,” wrote McGuire.
The story, however, does not end there.
McGuire says she’d been planning on walking back to the train in just her socks, but Amy had something else in mind.
“I started to walk away and [Amy] said, ‘I don't want your feet to be cold, can I give you my ‘old’ boots?’” McGuire wrote. “She who had nothing, offered me these boots. HER boots. I wore them all the way home … I just cannot stop thinking about her.”
McGuire says she hopes her story will remind people of the power of kindness.
“I want this to be about Amy's sweet gesture, not my own,” she wrote in an update to the original post. “Thinking about how many people have seen this has sparked an idea in me. Can you imagine if that many people did even just one random act of kindness for someone? We need to truly be the change we wish to see in the world.”
H/T: ABC News
Also on HuffPost: