So I’m walking back to work today after lunch and a hairy middle-aged man gets in my path. I don’t know what the heck he wants, so I don’t slow down and I brush past him. I’m carrying shopping bags and my arms are swinging so he gets out of the way. Just as I pass by, he hurriedly asks for a dollar.
But it’s too late – it takes me a few moments to process what he actually said – so I’m already gone on my way and he’s out of mind.
Some of you might question my attitude, but to be perfectly honest, people begging for money are very rare in my (Australian) city. I work in the heart of the city, but this is the first time in years that I can remember someone asking me for money on the street (tin-shakers for charity aside). It just isn’t done here (it may even be illegal). So I didn’t really understand what the man wanted… and by the time I figured that out, I realised I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do.
So what do you do?
As an aside, I was in a US a month of so ago and I must admit I was shocked at the number of homeless people begging on the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles. (Yeah, yeah, I’m naive.)
(My reaction went something like:
:eek: What the hell?
Oh man, this is terrible.
And two dozen “got any spare change?” requests later:
:mad: Just leave me alone! I just want to walk on the street with my friend.)
So two IMHO questions, I guess:
– Do you encounter people begging for money on the street where you live?; and
– How do you deal with these encounters? Do you give them money? How much? To all of them, or some? Is giving money the “right” thing to do – if, of course, there is a “right” thing – or is there another course of action you’d prefer?