Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rerun Wednesday - the homeless

Posted by Leona Bergstrom

I was in a hurry trying to get out of Walgreens when I was approached by a young, cleanly dressed, pleasant young man. He asked me if I could help him out. He said he was homeless, had no job, and really needed something to eat.

This is not an unusual plea during these days of economic disaster. However, I am usually hesitant to respond to panhandlers in parking lots. “But,” I thought to myself, “this is a tough time for people, this guy is hungry, I want to be full of mercy and compassion. I have $1.32 change right on top of my purse left from my recent purchase. What would it hurt to give that to this young man who seems to need a meal?”

That’s when I heard something I haven’t heard before. Not, “Ma’am could you spare some change or a dollar? “ No, this guy asked me for a $5 or $10 bill! Wow. Inflation hits everyone, I guess.

I can’t believe what I did next. I asked him to wait and I went to my car, closed the door, dug deeper in my purse and got a FIVE dollar bill and gave it to him! I guess “the big ask” works!

What did I learn?

* I should probably listen to my instincts when I feel that this is not someone I should give money to. He immediately went over, gave some other guy the money and got a cigarette in exchange. I guess it was a cigarette. He smoked it anyway.
* It doesn’t do much good to make a guy PROMISE that he’ll go buy food. He had different plans for the money.
* I shouldn’t be afraid to say no, but I should listen to my heart’s cry to help others and give the money to organizations that can really provide the right assistance to those in need.
* I’m only responsible for my actions (full of mercy and kindness...) not his.

And finally, a little change isn’t going to buy a meal for a hungry person anymore. I’m going to need to dig deeper in order to help others during these times.

1 comment:

kenm said...

You are definitely more kind, gracious, and generous than I am.

I would have been angry.