Most of us have encountered it. You’re out & about & you’re approached by a homeless person asking for help.
In the past, I rarely gave them money because of a cynical attitude about what they’d really do with the cash. In the past couple years, however, I’ve found myself softening. If I have a couple extra bucks & a safe place to lay my head at night, who am I to care what they do with it to get through their day? In Nashville (and several other cities) the homeless sell a newspaper created by their ranks. It costs a couple bucks and it makes it easier for some people to feel good about giving money. I always grab a copy if I have cash, and that leads to my experience the other day. I was grabbing dinner to take home & I noticed a man on a bike approaching cars next door at Starbucks. It’s not uncommon to see people begging around town so I didn’t think anything of it, knowing I had no cash on me at the time anyway. As he came up to me I let him know I was sorry, but I didn’t have money. He told me he wasn’t begging, but trying to sell his original pen & ink drawings to make some money, as he was between jobs. He was hopeful I’d take a look and “be inspired to go to the ATM.” I did, & was blown away by the beautiful work he had in his notebook. After flipping through them & having a really nice chat, I did indeed walk to the ATM, pull out $20 & buy one of his pictures that reminded me of the farm I grew up on in Ohio as a young boy. He was incredibly thankful & kind and it made me feel like there was hope for him. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t automatically assume the worst of people you see on the street. There’s much more to many of them than meets the eye.