Blue Plastic Egg

Saturday I was on a mission to pick up Janet at the end of the day at a Houston airport.  

I stopped to get her dinner and sat in front of the second Chick-fil-A drive through line waiting on my order. 

It’s always the same, no matter where you go.  They bring it out and ask your name to confirm the order while handing it to you.  I say, “Thank you.”  They say, “My pleasure.” 

Normally, I’m itching to get it and roll on.  This time though, I wanted to just sit and watch.

A guy walked out of Chick-fi-A with a coke in his hand.  His pants were a size too big, his belt missed a loop or two, and his shirt peculiarly looked like it was from the 1960s. 

He didn’t have on ear buds, and he wasn’t on a phone, so he was definitely talking to himself. 

He stopped at the crosswalk talking away, as if an imaginary person was sitting on his shoulder.  He didn’t bother looking either way. He just stepped out in the drive area, staring at the ground. 

He meandered to the other curb and stopped.  All the sudden he pulled a light blue plastic Easter egg out of his pocket. 

Sipping his coke with his left hand, his right began to spin the plastic egg, palm it, then turn it over.  He began to wave his right hand as if he was doing a choreographed Egyptian dance, but at first, only with his right arm.

Soon he added his right leg to the dance while keeping his left side as still as a stroke victim.

His eyes widened as he stared at the Easter egg, and an eerie smile etched across his face.

In my first career, I was a Licensed Professional Counselor and worked in public mental health. I’ve never seen this man before, but I recognized him instantly. 

He put his drink on the grass, and began a mesmerized, one on one dance of adoration for his blue plastic egg. 

Now both sides of his body were in motion.  Both feet slid in unison. Both arms waved in a dance with his egg as he swayed back and forth. 

I was so engrossed that I didn’t see the Chick-fil-A employee walk up. She startled me. 

“Order for Jeff?” 

I smiled, confirmed the order she described as she handed it through the window.

I changed the normal routine and told her I didn’t see her coming because I was watching the man.

She was very aware of him, and immediately looked his direction with a mixture of worry, and fear.

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

I dropped the order in the seat beside me.  In those few seconds, the man had moved north and stood on the edge of the 5-lane highway, coke in hand, egg apparently back in his pocket.

He didn’t move at all now. He just stood staring at the road before him.  The only muscles moving were his lips as he continued his previous conversation. 

I wanted to watch him longer.  Even more so, I wanted to talk to him.

What’s your name? Where are you from? Who else, besides me, is talking to you right now?  Tell me about your egg.  How do you get your money? Where will you sleep tonight?  Are you OK? 

I pulled around the corner, hit the access road, and glanced his way as I entered the highway. 

He remained perfectly still, talking, talking fast to whomever, or whatever, he saw and heard in his mind.

You can’t help everyone,
but you can help the person in front of you.

Honestly, as I kept driving to the airport, I felt guilty.  It wasn’t because I stopped and watched him.  I felt guilty wondering how many people like him I just don’t stop and see at all. 

I heard someone say once you can’t help everyone, but you can help the person in front of you.   

How many people are out there with a plastic Easter egg in their pocket? 

How many aren’t nearly as bad off as this man, yet they’re struggling nonetheless? And really, wouldn’t that be all of us from time to time?

How many folks just need someone to ask?  How many silently struggle, fighting very real battles in day-to-day life? 

How many don’t need a hand out, just a hand reached out?

How many can make it another day if they just hear a kind word?

How many?

I don’t know.

I do know I really need to do a better job of looking for blue plastic Easter eggs.


10 thoughts on “Blue Plastic Egg”

  1. This post reminds me of what I see on Wednesdays when I work at our church’s food pantry. The people that come in for free groceries are generally hidden from sight. I don’t see them around town at the places I go. But they are here. Many are desperate. Many cry when we ask how they are doing. Many are grateful for a kind word and a prayer. It will change us to open our eyes to the multitude of needs all around us. For many of us, it’s “out of sight, out of mind”. Blessings, Jeff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a tremendous work your church is doing, Cindy! It is strange how the places we go in town at the times we go look very, very different at other times of the day or night. And you are so right, it is so easy to be “out of sight, out of mind”!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.