(It Can Be) A Wonderful Life

For weeks in the run-up to the holidays, we were reminded that Jimmy Stewart would be back to bring joy and meaning to the holidays. Guess what? We don’t need Jimmy Stewart, though like millions I love watching the cornball movie. Every year one or two real-life stories pop up that do even a better job than Gen. Stewart because they are in flesh and blood, not celluoid. Here’s one that blew me away.

A guy in New York decided to do a one-man social experiment. He’s an American of East Asian descent or so he appears. We have no idea if the experiment was one of malintent, good intent, or just a lark. This is what he did.

Walking down a busy New York Avenue he purposely dropped his wallet at the feet of a homeless man with a sign. The wallet had a bunch of money in it; we don’t know how much. Showing no signs that he had lost his wallet, he kept up his dogged New York I’m in a hurray walking pace. From the clip on U-Tube taken on someone’s telephone, our researcher had gotten about 40 yards down the street when he heard a voice calling out to him. We can assume it was something like this: “Hey Mistah! You dropped somethin’!” The pan-handler began to chug after the man who finally heard him and turned around to be presented with his wallet. He didn’t embarrass the homeless man by counting the contents. Instead, he engaged him in conversation after profuse thanks.

The short story was this: the good Samaritan was an ex-vet, out of work, with a wife at home (shelter? under a bridge?) pregnant. I don’t mind if you are cynical. I was too but let’s go on. Our loose-fingered pedestrian then reached into his wallet and handed the guy a bunch of bills as a reward, thanking him again profusely. He walks away and unbeknownst to all the research is not done. Curious about how the money would be spent (go ahead, I know you’re thinking the next shot is of a liquor store or maybe a fast food joint, so allow yourself some honest thought and go with it.).

The former vet wheels ahead and heads in the direction behind him to a food wagon. Makes sense. Even with dependents, it was cold and he was undoubtedly hungry. He presents his bunch of bills and from what we see next he seems to ask for as much food as the money will buy divided up into several bags. These he then takes these to another corner that is apparently one of his working areas. There he walks up to three or four other homeless folks (hard to tell from the angle of the shot) and hands each a bag of food. He takes nothing for himself, turning around and walking back to his original spot.

Appears now our social scientist who approaches the guy and says something that I guess is, “Wow! I saw what you just did! Are you nuts?!?” This man who represented his country in uniform and now lives on the streets as his government’s payback to him, responds, “You know, it’s all good. I have my wife. The pregnancy is going well. She and the baby are fine. It’ll all turn out for the best.”

Not to be out “Samaritaned” by his subject, our researcher takes out his wallet and appears to pull out what must have been nearly everything left in it and hands the wad to the guy. They hug, pat each other on the backs, depart–go to black. The end.

Or is it. I’m no misanthrope. I give the Salvation Army volunteers and the firemen who collect for MDA, and on occasion the homeless on the streets. And I do think we should watch Jimmy Stewart every year. However,  this U-Tube clip should be shown either before or after the movie. It’s a lot shorter, a lot more real, and has an unmissable message–at least from my perspective.


Your holiday gift is a shorter promo…


A happy, healthy, safe new year to all and a grateful thankful for your readership




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