There, but for the grace of God, go I

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

I went to Costco today.  I rarely go on the weekends (it can get so crazy), and especially midday.  But I also rarely find myself with a day where I have no real estate appointments, so I thought I'd take advantage of that opening.

I lucked out... 'cause I saw what I thought must be a mirage.  A large stack of Clorox wipes.  Maximum 1 pkg. per person... but I was able to snag a five-pack, and it feels as though I won the lottery.

I had gone to Costco for something specific (which, of course, they were out of), and $179.00 later I walk out with a whole bunch of non-essential stuff... but excited 'cause I found Clorox wipes.

As I drove away... near the exit... there was a woman holding a sign (fill in the sign with your own language... "out of work... trying to provide for my family"... something like that)... and behind her, sitting the shade of a tree, were two children (maybe four and five)... clearly miserable.  The temperature on my car's thermometer showed a very high 95° (that's really high for the Chicago area).  And there was this woman... well-dressed, proud, with a sign begging for money.  For me, it was a "there, but for the grace of God, go I".  It could easily have been me if real estate had gone the wrong way when Covid hit.

I stopped to give her some money... (the guy behind me honked)... I waved her over, and reach into my pocket... all I had was a twenty and a single.  A single wasn't adequate... so I reached my hand out with the twenty... and the single.... and said "take both".  She was emotional, and grateful.

I realized that for me... $21.00 doesn't even register.  It's not that money doesn't have value... it does.  But for me... I drove straight from Costco to the ATM and refilled my pocket.  That last $21.00 from my pocket won't really be missed. For her, that $21.00 probably meant she could get her kids out of the sun for the day... and feed them.

There, but for the grace of God...

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

What a nice act from you, Alan.... what goes around comes around and that will come back to you in many ways.... there are so many sad situations out there...and more government assistance is needed.... no one should need to stand with a sign.... 

Aug 22, 2020 12:24 PM #1
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

I would have asked her a bit about her predicament and what sort of work she used to do.

Aug 22, 2020 01:07 PM #2
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Alan,   You obviously have a good heart.  I am sure this has helped her in more than one way - financially, yes - but also letting her know she matters to other people.

Aug 22, 2020 02:45 PM #3
Carol Culkin, ReeceNichols
ReeceNichols Real Estate - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Residential Real Estate

You scored big time on Clorox wipes and in the compassion department at Costco today. Nice! 

Aug 22, 2020 02:51 PM #4
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I have not been to a Cost Co in about 5 years, I prefer to avoid lines. 

We all do what we feel is right with the disenfranchised-I buy food & hot coffee for homeless Vets, you give cash, others do what they do. I think it is cool that we all give in our own way. Good on you Alan.

Give it out in slices, it comes back in loaves.

Aug 22, 2020 03:26 PM #5
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Alan, we need more people like you in the world. Thank you for realizing that woman's plight could have been any of ours.

Aug 23, 2020 08:07 AM #6
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Nice that you followed your instincts and gave this gal some cash.  And glad you were able to buy some Clorox.  A

Aug 23, 2020 09:49 AM #7
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Alan- I knew that there was a kind soul in you!!! I'm sure that the lady had to muster up courage to do what she had to do to protect her family. Standing there with that sign could not have been easy for her. Thank you for being her angel. 

Aug 29, 2020 01:50 PM #8
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Alan May

A moving experience!
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