Generosity excerpt

A friend sent this in as a non-sequitur in another conversation we were having.

The other day I was coming out of a coffee shop and decided to give a homeless man a $10 bill…what can you get for $1 these days?…I feel like I’ve been giving $1 since I’ve had discretionary income…I subconsciously never accounted for inflation/cost of living increases.  He thought I made a mistake and said: Ma’am, I think you made a mistake.  Did you mean to give this to me (assuming I meant to give him $1).

I replied: I absolutely did.

Nice.  And kinda shatters the whole angle of the panhandler who is trying to pull one over on you, doesn’t it?

I hesitate to share too many examples of giving to people on the street when talking about Generosity Day, since somehow that’s a lightning rod for what I consider to be a distracting conversation (namely: “should one give to people on the street?”).  At the same time, the immediacy and humanity of giving (or not) to someone who is standing right and front of you and asking for help is, I think, something we cannot shy away from.

Do you have more generosity stories to share?

6 thoughts on “Generosity excerpt

  1. Great story, with a surprising twist.

    I’m usually skeptical of those who seek handouts on the street, but I’m reminded of a time I was traveling home after having lunch with my family.

    We saw a homeless man sitting on a curb (not necessarily asking for handouts, just sitting there with a solemn look). We pulled up in front of him and asked if he’d like some food. He immediately perked up and said yes. We asked him what he’d like specifically from the In-n-Out across the street and he said anything would do. After giving him the burger, fries, and drink he graciously said thank you and dived into the food.

    A little help can go a long way, especially for those who are quite literally starving or cold.

  2. This post really struck me by surprised. I would have never thought of that. I guess it is the assumption that panhandlers would get another dollar which would eventually equal that $10.

  3. I’m hesitant to give cash to people on the street, but once, a man on the street in NYC asked me for money, and I walked him into McDonalds to buy him a meal. He was incredibly appreciative, and tried to order the smallest possible thing – a small cup of coffee. I urged him to order a sandwich and fries too, but even then, he insisted on ordering a small burger and small fries – the least expensive items on the menu.

  4. i struggle with this … I want to bring everyone home with me and let them live in our home but I can’t because my family & I struggle financially ourselves. I give food. especially to kids. I try not to give kids money unless I’m convinced it’s for the Shelter they have to pay for. Adults, i mostly give a meal to … ingredients for supper that night and hopefully for the week. I give tips to car guards and *sometimes* I employ someone to do chores at the house.

    This one day waiting for my, now husband, a homeless guy came over & asked for anything i could contribute to his supper. I pulled out a R20 ($140) and he was super grateful, rattling off the hot meal he was going to buy and which beverage was going to go along with it. He told his story of how he came from a neighbouring african country and his accommodation with a friend fell through …. Sometimes people are just SO unfortunate & land up on the streets. He was a well spoken, intelligent young man & I wished I could give him at least a referral to a job but I didn’t know anyone ….

    it’s not always possible to find out everyone’s story which is why i give, regardless.

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