Fernando Banuelos is an active volunteer for Food Link Tulare County. Most weekends, you can find him distributing food to the needy in the Central Valley.
It was one scorching summer July morning. The temperature was already 90 degrees, and it was just eight o’clock. The weather forecast predicted 114 degrees by mid-afternoon. What crazy person would be outside giving away food to the homeless and the poor in this heat? I thought the poor and the homeless can wait to get the food tomorrow. Why today? With the heat was reflecting on my face, it was unbearable to wait on the hot pavement. In my selfish mind, I whispered, “Who wants to be out here?” They do not give any gifts to volunteers, no certificates of recognition, no pay, not even a pat on the back. Yet, I stood there in the heat aimlessly waiting for the next person.
Then as I was giving out the bags of food, I saw this elderly woman. She must have been at least 80 years old, and five feet tall in stature. She must have been taller in her younger years. Her body hunched as though she had the weight all her years on her shoulders. A red headscarf ominously covering up her white feather-like hair and her clothes were so tattered that it seemed as though she had them on for ages. One side of her coat was cover from the remnants of dirty streets where she laid at night.
As she approached, she looked up at me and with her beautiful blue eyes… eyes that may have captured hundreds of men’s hearts in her younger years. Those eyes were capturing mine as well. She tilted her head upward smiled and muttered in an angelic tone “Thank you.” I knew that this broken old woman, was much more than a homeless person, she was a voice from God, telling me, “Job well done my son, I have not forgotten you, I sent you an angel to comfort you today.” That scorching summer day, I received more than anything the world can offer me, I received, a SMILE FROM HEAVEN.