Monday, 23 November 2009

A Day in Their Shoes

I was sitting at a set of traffic lights today as I drove home from the city.  I was looking out my window and saw a guy begging on the street corner.  He was about my age, reasonable cleanly dressed and quiet looking.  He sat there on a piece of cardboard his hands together as if in prayer and just said "please" as people walked by.  He caught me eye, smiled and nodded.  I smiled and nodded back and had this overwhelming urge to open my wallet and give him the $5 I had in it.

Then the traffic started moving ... And I kept driving.

I regret that I didn't give him my $5.  I don't even care what he needed it for. Maybe he wanted to buy food, maybe it was cigarettes or crack or maybe he needed to catch a train to get the hell out of the place he was in.  Who am I to judge him until I have walked a day in his shoes?

He has been on my mind all day today.  I find myself wishing that I had parked the car and talked to him.  Maybe brought him a coffee and asked him who he is? and why he is there? but I know I wouldn't have done it. I would have worried that it would have come across as patronising or worried that he was crazy.  The least I could do (apparently) was drive away and the most I could have imagined was jumping out of the car and chucking $5 in his hand.

But how I wish I was the kind of person who stopped and talked to this man who is doing one of the things we as a society see as the lowest of the low.

Scab, Dero, Addict, Loser, Bum

But what about;

Man, Struggle, Human, Worthy

Why don't we feel a stronger need and desire to help people?

A friend of mine lives in a different area to me and she gets asked for money all the time.  She has actually given money and then 10 minutes later seen them go and buy cigarettes then go back to ask strangers for more money.  Maybe if I felt like I was asked for money every time I walked out my front door I would feel more hardened but I'm not.

So this afternoon I look at this beautiful life that I have made/been given and I hope to grow more into the sort of person who gives her last $5 to the man who seems to need it more than she does and maybe one day I will be the sort of person who sits down next to him with a coffee ... Or maybe not.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails