I was hanging outside of the Big Apple Ponycon venue when I saw a homeless lady wander up to a small crowd of bronies and beg for change.
I never saw so many people whip out their wallets so quickly and readily all at once. One guy even gave her a ten. By the time it was over, the woman was in tears, and she hugged one of us.
I’m not saying this to brag or anything, (especially since nopony there knew I was going to write this at the time, even me), but it was a truly beautiful moment, and it deserves to be shared.
I have something of a reputation for writing long-winded posts and analyses on friendship, and about pony, but I would like to do something a little different. See, while I was writing this, I happened upon a gem of a comment, which I would like to share instead. In a totally different thread, discussing the general importance of small acts of kindness, I read an account of the same exact event that I just described to you, as shared by the man who had given out the ten dollar bill and received the hug.
“I looked in my wallet and all I had was a $10 bill, which I was planning on using for my own dinner. Not to sound judgmental, but in my experiences as a patron of urban areas and minor but frequent trips to hospitals, I had a good hunch as to what the money was actually going towards, but that still only paused me for a moment.
I had just spent the previous eight or so hours surrounded by warm, kindhearted individuals who came together over the values of friendship. The party was still raging not three feet behind the doors to my back.
I didn’t do it for gratitude. Hell, I thought she was just gonna take the money and move on like so many others.
But I couldn’t take three years of life lessons, and friendship reports, and learning to be a better person, and then wipe my ass with them.
I gave her the money and it was a surprisingly easy decision. She thanked me profusely, praised Jesus, and blessed the crap out of me. She actually teared up a bit.
But that is not what I expected at all, nor even what I wanted. ‘Take the money and go and let me imagine you’re actually going to feed yourself,’ I thought jadedly.
I disentangle myself from her to find my friends inside so we can leave and twenty minutes later we round the corner to head to the parking garage and see her feasting at the hot dog guy. She shouts me out with more blessings and I instantly feel like shit for being judgmental, but looking back, I feel really proud that I was able to be there for her in her time of need, and I only wish I had more to give her.
I’m obviously not a perfect person, but I know I wouldn’t have given her shit before ponies. I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m trying not be so damned cynical. Baby steps, right?”
What I had mistaken for an unquestioning gesture of generosity was actually something of a dilemma, and one we can all learn from.
Sometimes you hear people say that the lessons of the show are obvious, and not really anything terribly profound or revolutionary, (as most of us learned about caring and sharing and all that stuff by the time we were six). But My Little Pony isn’t about rocking the academic world of moral philosophy with new revelations. It isn’t about “this letter to Celestia here” being especially deep.
After all, My Little Pony never even dealt with the subject of panhandling, (and come on, let’s be honest, not every real life scenario has an episode with a direct parallel). It’s only when you put it all together – when you look back at three years of your life spent celebrating the virtues of friendship, that the stuff actually starts to sink in.
And we write our own friendship lessons as we go.
I too had the same revelation. That ponyjoy doesn’t have to stop with us. We can take that feeling and turn it into a force for good. It’s a weapon against that cynical streak we all have telling us that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference. To change the world.
Pony can feel like hope. And sometimes, just a little bit of hope is all it really takes to bring out the best in us.
Bronies For Good is having a good deeds drive this Summer to encourage folks to get involved and make a difference. It really does celebrate and exemplify all that is awesome about the My Little Pony fan community. Check it out. Summer O’ Good.
Also, now you can follow Help My Heart is Full of Pony at http://heartfullofpony.tumblr.com