20 April 2010

the man on the corner

Philip and I were driving to Jack in the Box for lunch (healthy, right?) and on the way there, we saw a man on the corner with a sign asking for money. My immediate thought was this: "Oh no, don't make eye contact because then I'll feel guilty for not giving him anything".
Why? Why did I immediately think that? Am I bad person?... That I WANT to avoid eye contact and go about my day as if I am incapable of helping him.

So as I sat there waiting for the light to turn green, I started realizing what a jerk I was. You see, I am one of 'those' people that thinks that if I give him money, he will just go out and buy cigarettes and alcohol. And maybe that's the case but who am I to make that judgment? Why do I assume the worst? I do not know this man, and I don't now his situation.

I like to believe that I am a charitable, giving person. I hope that I am. This is just one of MANY times I've passed by a person asking for money. But this particular experience really opened my eyes. It isn't up to me to decide what he will do with my donation, but it is up to me to try to help. It is within my means to lend a few bucks to someone who might need a good meal.

So I rolled down my window and gave him some money. Not a lot, but something.

And he didn't just take it and walk away. He looked genuinely grateful and I am glad I did it. And to my surprise as soon as the guy took money from me, the truck behind me rolled down their window and gave him some money as well.

And another eye opener for me today:

As Philip and I were leaving J in the B, I was refilling my soda and I glanced over at the man next to me and he said this to me: "Hey Kiddo" ... I paused for a minute and said "Hello". He then said to me "Thank you for smiling at me, that doesn't happen very often anymore."

That caught me very off gaurd. That someone would THANK me for giving them a friendly smile. Wow. It's amazing the little things that we take for granted.

I think I will try to give a few more dollars to the guy on the corner, or maybe a few more friendly smiles here and there. You never know who you may be helping.

Truly humbling.


Nikki said...

Bryan does the same thing with girl scouts. He won't make eye contact and I have to be the one to tell them no!

You're right to be aware of your surroundings. Just give a smile, don't follow the man to his car. I know you're smarter than that.

AlissaDawn said...

A truly wonderful post sister. I find myself avoiding eye contact also and feel horrible. Mostly because I never have cash on me and wish I did and can't help this person. I try to when i can and I am so proud of you for doing two good things today. There needs to be more empathy and generosity in the world today. Thanks for having the self-awareness to check yourself and help out a fellow human.

The Reluctant Blogger said...

I just had a conversation with my 6 year old this weekend about helping when we can. She wants us to adopt everyone we see, I love that she is so giving and cares about the hardships those people are having. I 90% of the time do not have cash, but have been known to buy a meal and give it away. It makes me feel good to have helped if not in the cash form.