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Don't ask, Don't get (again)

Cindy and I went for a walk yesterday and ended up buying ice cream. As we sat down to eat, a homeless man came by asking for change.

In this Covid world, I don't carry any cash, but instead of ignoring the man, Cindy asked if he was hungry. We could buy him something to eat with our credit card if he wanted.

"I'd really like some ribs and a coke from the place over there" was his response.

"How about a sandwich and coffee instead?" asked Cindy? He agreed gratefully, but looked a little let down.

As they headed off to the coffee shop, Cindy looked at him again and asked if he was really craving those ribs. His eyes lit up and said "yes please" so they changed course and went to the rib place.

She sat him down at a table and went to order and pay for the meal. The waitress recognized the old man and thanked Cindy for her generosity.

When Cindy went back to the table, she told him to sit tight; the ribs would be coming right away, and she was going back to her ice cream.

He thanked her and asked "did you get a Coke too?" When she confirmed that she had, his eyes lit up and he thanked her again.

A cynic might hear this story and think the homeless man upsold Cindy. She was willing to buy a sandwich and he tricked her into an order of ribs - with a Coke.

Or, perhaps, one might think the man wasn't really hungry. If you're starving, would you turn down a sandwich and ask for an upgrade to ribs?

But I see it as a man being bold enough to ask for what he wanted. He clearly didn't get much to eat, but when offered an opportunity, wasn't afraid to speak up.

How often do we hold back and think small when we know deep down what we really want? What's the downside of being clear about it and saying what we want out loud?

If we say it, we might actually get it.