bits from bob....

What Do You Think?

by Don Petty
posted by Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

[Note: The following is a personal story from a trip made to San Salvador the week of April 10, 2005. It is likely something like stories you have experienced around the world. Judge for yourself. --Don Petty]

There are always interesting things going on around us. One happened to me this week here in San Salvador, where I am doing a job for a snack food company. Maybe you can see in the story what I see.

Always when my taxi takes me to work and back to the hotel I see little stories along the way...up major boulevards and down little back streets (to beat the traffic). Always there are two things that stand out...pretty, frilly little aprons on women on the streets (a colorful little culture trait...and I like them).

Then there are the ever present dogs everywhere. Dogs of every breed and size, color and physical condition. Never do I fail to see 5 to 10 dogs and more on the way to and from work.

Yesterday, my partner Gene and I and our translator, Santiago, were at lunch at a little Salvadorean restaurant. My partner bought a steak and some 'sausage' he did not finish. Well, he is a lover of dogs, even talking to "Bud" on the phone one night. I heard hiim tell his wife that night, "Let me talk to Bud".

When we started to leave the restaurant, he said I think I will wrap this meat up and pitch it to one of the dogs along the street. We all agreed that would be neat. There was no doubt we would have many opportunities to feed some lean dog before we got back to work.

But....all the way to work not one dog appeared. We were all three in awe. Where were the dogs?

Santiago made it his mission to find a dog my buddy could feed; so when we were only one block from the company where we were working, having seen not one canine, he took a little side street up a hill where there were very few people and some old buses parked along both sides of the street.

Still no dogs. But, we heard one bark, so we wheeled the car around to find him. Surely enough there one was standing by an old dog friend lying under a bus sleeping. Oddly we could not rouse him. He was so sleepy or tired he did not want to be bothered, and his pal trotted away from us. We drove back down the hill still determined not to let the meat go to waste.

There was another dog! He walked along the side of the road sniffing through some bags of trash dropped where a trash truck would pick it up. But the old dog kept moving away from us. But....

Something else caught Santiago's eye. It was a lean middle aged woman with a 4 or 5 year old child, and she was scouring through the garbage, as Santiago perceived, looking for a bit of something she and her little boy could eat.

He swerved over to come close to the curb, when she quickly moved away perhaps thinking she was violating some rule, but he coaxed her nearer the car. He asked her if she would mind taking the little sack of meat for her and her boy.

She smiled as warmly as a woman without much hope and hungry and desolate with a child, could smile and quietly said, "Gracias", then moved off hurriedly clutching the little bag of meat, still slightly warm in the heat of the Salvadorean April.

Santiago had not asked us our opinion, nor did he hesitate to hand her the food. He just did it almost on impulse, but with a soft heart. Gene smiled. I said, "Well, God must have had more of a need for that morsel of meat than we did".

We were late for work just to 'feed a dog'. But maybe a little boy had a taste of some meat that just possibly he had never tasted that fresh before because of the hearts of these two men. One who had the thought of "giving", and the other who was determined to find a way to get the meat to a pup and saw a better use than he had imagined.

Little did we know there would be NO dogs for us to pitch a bit of steak on the street that is lined with dogs daily. And far be it from us to think of seeing a woman looking for something to put in her little boys stomach that day on lonely back street. Maybe I only imagine all these true facts of the story were directed by God. What do YOU think? (--Don Petty, in San Salvador)

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Last updated October 1, 2005.