Live and learn

To echo someone I know from Topeka ... here's what I don't get.

I used to be one for helping people down on their luck. If I passed a homeless person in New York City and they needed some spare change or a buck to get by, I would give it up, no questions asked.

That was until about 11 years when, walking down the stairs to the Continental Avenue subway station in Forest Hills, N.Y., some wiseguy tried to mug me because I wouldn't give him anything.

Note I said "tried." He pulled a jeweler's screwdriver out. I had my fists. Guess who won?

Fast forward to June 29, 2005. After my shift and a 90-minute workout in the building, I was walking back to my car when a woman, maybe my age or a little younger, literally came up to me begging for money. She said she was pregnant and hungry and thirsty and needed money. I explained to her I didn't have any money on me. She kept begging for cash though.

I did have something though in my car -- food and water from my old place that has just been sitting in my trunk. Nothing perishable, just cereal, some cans of soup. I offered her a box of cereal -- if nothing else, she would have had something to eat. Instead, she asked for water.

No problem. I gave her two 24-ounce bottles: Washington D.C. is a hot, humid city even at 1 a.m.

So, how should I feel when as she walked away, she threw one of the bottles of water into a tree garden outside a building? Stunned would be accurate. Disappointed another. Angry a third.

I understand circumstances can dictate what happens in a person's life. When it comes to the homeless -- and there are a lot of them in D.C. -- do not give them money. If you are pack-rattish like me, offer them food and/or water. If you feel the need to give money, give it to an organization that assists the homeless.

What do you think? I'd like to know.

1 comment:

kb said...

It shows that you are kind and compassionate person... even when others don't deserve it.

You've done the responsible thing and balanced your karma. Now she won't be shopping for you at Home Depot. ;P