What do you think?

August 4, 2007 at 11:44 am | Posted in What the hell? | 2 Comments

So this morning we loaded up the family truckster and trekked over to Target to exchange a couple of things and pick-up a couple of things.  There is a fairly busy intersection we pass that also has an exchange to the highway with an overpass which homeless people have the tendency to use as shelter. 

So we stop at the light just before the overpass and there is a man standing on the median holding a sign that reads, “Please help my family.”  I assume that this man is looking for monetary assistance and I begin to think about how much money I have in my wallet and if I would consider giving him $5.  My heart is pulling me in the direction to say yes even though $5 doesn’t seem like much, desperate times call for desperate measures and if this man has resorted to begging on the street he must be desperate.  He is dressed in blue jeans, a tee shirt and a baseball cap and doesn’t look malnourished nor dirty.  But reality and perception can be very different things.  Perhaps a random act of kindness could brighten this family’s day.  And although $5 won’t get you very far these days, it would be $5 more than they had just moments before.

I begin to reach towards my wallet when I catch a glimpse of his meager belongings left at the base of the stop signal on the median.  What do I spy?  A cup of Starbucks  coffee and I freeze in my tracks.  I remove my hand from my wallet and as the light turns green, I carry on my way without the $5 offering to the man on the street.

As I’m driving and shopping I’m wondering why on earth this man thinks it’s “O.K.” to beg for money on the street while sipping the Cadalliac of coffee.  I mean, I don’t drink Starbucks but I do read the paper and isn’t Starbucks under a bit of fire for raising their prices yet again?  So if you need help for your family don’t you think it’s time to put down the expensive Joe and start looking for regular work that will at least bring some money into your home?  I did even give him the benefit of doubt that perhaps someone bought the coffee for him but when perception is reality and you’re begging on the streets, why would you advertise that you can drink the most expensive retail coffee available?

 So I’m wondering what any of you think out there.  If there is still anyone out there reading this blog.  It just really got to me today on so many different levels that I’m interested to see what other people think about my little paradox this morning.



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  1. I used to live a couple of miles north of you, off the same highway (I’m guessing…based on your town). At our intersection there was always this very pregnant woman begging at the corner. I lived there two years. She was the same amount of pregnant for two years…explain that to me. I saw her get busted by the cops three or four times from my apartment window.

    So now I don’t trust anyone begging at any highway intersection.

    In fact, we were coming home last night and there’s sometimes a guy begging at our interstate intersection. Last night he was just coming on to his shift. You should have seen him…primping his hair, shaking his shoulders, and straightening his clothes, all in preparation for holding up the sign at his feet. He looked perfectly able-bodied to me. In fact, Tim has some jobs in the factory portion of his company that this man could probably do.

    Maybe we should go out and hand him the job description?

  2. I am right there with you. I am all about helping those that appear willing to help themselves.

    My bigger pet peeve? Adults that send their kids out to hawk candy bars at various locations. These are not school fundraisers either.

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