Update: My generous friends at AngelBeing.com have offered to match every comment donation -- up to $1000. Start talking!
I pulled up to the drive-thru window at McDonald's this morning, as I do every morning, but before the voice in the box offered to take my order, a recorded voice asked "Would you like to donate one dollar to the Ronald McDonald House?" I said no.
I'd like a biscuit and a diet Coke.
I love the Ronald McDonald house. I've done volunteer work there. But I just didn't want to give at that moment. And, to be honest, I kind of resent being asked.
I get it. I'm sure they make a lot of money that way so I'm not suggesting they stop. I'm just saying I don't like it. I don't like it any more than when I am asked to donate a dollar as I'm checking out at the supermarket. There are just some times and some places where I choose not to give.
Of course there is always that voice in my head that says "It's one dollar! You can't give one dollar??"
Fortunately, I have learned not to listen to these voices, otherwise I would always put other peoples' needs before my own, I'd be crippled by guilt, I would never wear my leopard pants in public and I wouldn't write a post admitting that I don't give every time I am asked.
See, the thing is, I do give.
Sometimes my giving is planned, sometimes it is spontaneous. Sometimes it's as little as a dollar but usually it's much more. Occasionally I'm motivated by guilt, but mostly by gratitude... or grief.
Just not at McDonald's. Not today, and probably not tomorrow.
It's just where I draw the line.
And do you know what this means? It simply means that I have something in common with Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, Oprah and you.
Because no one -- rich or poor -- can give at every opportunity.
I recently attended an event with Arianna where she spoke about a first-in-his-family African-American college student who was going to have to drop out because he couldn't afford it. She almost cried in telling the story.
I wondered if she had not only been moved to tears, but moved enough to pay for his schooling. I mean, how does she decide?
How do you decide?
If everyone would answer that question, you would be giving something of great value to every charitable organization in the world.
Of course there are the obvious answers.
My brother suffered from epilepsy his whole life and then died of cancer so I give to those foundations. If you haven't lost someone to a disease or illness you will. And then you will give to that cause and encourage others to as well.
But why else?
For instance, I'm going to admit that I am more likely to give to the guy ringing the Salvation Army bell when it's really cold out because as long as he's willing to freeze his 'bells' off for the cause, it's the least I can do.
My husband always gives to the March of Dimes because they send those great return address stickers. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones you use, even if you don't give.
I always give to the guy playing an instrument outside the ballpark but I'd bet he makes a lot more money when the home team wins.
And, unless they are representing a cause that I fundamentally oppose, I always give to young kids campaigning door to door -- not so much to support the cause as to encourage and support their social responsibility.
And, of course, I give through my work.
So, let's make a deal.
Tell me why you give. Share your secrets.
Tell me about the charity closest to your heart or a donation you made simply because you were asked to do so.
For my part, for every HuffPost reader who leaves a comment, I will donate a dollar to the Ronald McDonald House for the next 50 days.
It's a win-win.
Tweet it. "Like" it. Share it.
It costs you nothing.
And I can still enjoy my diet Coke and my biscuit.
No butter. No jelly. No guilt.
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