Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thanks For The Information

Every couple of weeks I see a woman standing at the bottom of the highway exit ramp I take to get to work. She looks like she might be about my age, and she's always holding the same cardboard sign that says she's homeless and looking for help.

She may be homeless, or she may be a scam artist. I don't know.  I make donations to several organizations that help homeless people, but I choose not to give individuals money when I see them on the street. For the first few months when I saw her I'd always find something to look at in my car when she passed by, but after awhile I decided that was silly and started acknowledging her.

Today she was in her spot. I happened to be the first car in the turn lane, and I looked over and gave her a little wave. She waved back. I realized I had a raggity fingernail, so I grabbed the emory board I keep in the car visor and started filing it, but I sensed the woman was still looking at me. I glanced over again, and saw that she was trying to get my attention.

I rolled down my window, hoping she wasn't going to ask me for money or food. She held up a large plastic cup that had seen much better days and told me that the fast food restaurant across the street had a water main break today and she hadn't been able to get any water.

I thanked her for the information, and told her to stay cool; it was going to be a hot day. She nodded, I nodded, then the light turned green and I moved on.

Five years ago today: New Thing #245--What Does It Mean?

14 comments:

  1. I kinda snorted a laugh Kathy. To keep from saying anything at all I usually look the other way too. It's hard not to know if you are getting scammed.

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    1. I know! It's easy to look the other way if you don't "know" a person, but I've seen this lady so darn often in the last few years.

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  2. I keep a bottle of water in the console of my jeep. If I'm asked for money or anything at all, I offer the bottle of water and say that's all I have on me at the moment. It is hard to know if you're being scammed. I'd never give money...but I do know of people that will swing through a drive-thru and give a meal but I admit I've never taken the time to do that. I think you handled that very well!

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    1. A bottle of water is a great idea! I try not to use them myself (have a couple of refillable metal ones) but it would be something to offer. Thanks.

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  3. I think she wanted a donation of some sort.

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    1. If she did, all she got from me was the donation of a smile :-)

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  4. We are the same way. We donate to the United Way and Food Bank and other charities, but avoid giving to people who are out begging. It is uncomfortable though.

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    1. It's easier to be polite than to judge.

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  5. Kathy I like the idea which Betsy offers here, a bottle of water is a fantastic idea. I too will not give money, however, I've been known to buy a few meals for those who are hungry. I've gone into a restaurant, generally a fast food place, with one individual and listened to him as he ate. Sometimes people just need to be heard, sometimes they need food and sometimes a simple bottle of water will suffice. In saying all of this, I too used to just look the other way, one day I looked into the eyes of a panhandler and thought this is someone's child, someone's parent, or someone's loved one. What pushed them to the curb so to speak and if this were my child (heaven forbid) I sure hoped in that moment in time that someone would feed them. I'm almost positive this was somewhere around the time I made my decision to return to school and become a social worker.

    I'll have to start to carry a few extra bottles of water with me, well maybe not in the winter, but definitely in the warmer months. Thank you Betsy for the brilliant idea.

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    1. EVERYONE wants to be acknowledged. How awesome that you took the time to sit and talk with someone while they ate. Wish I had the time (took the time?) to do that.

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  6. I never give money and seldom do I provide food, but every now and then I hear God clearly telling me what to do for the person in front of me. One time I clearly knew I was to get food for a street person and was headed to a nearby fast-food place when I heard God say, "you don't eat that stuff, why would you feed it to a homeless man?" Okay. I drove further, to a grocery store, and got sandwich makings and juice. The man was very appreciative when I drove back by.

    I do keep bottles of water in my car and have offered those to street people. When we lived in SF, I carried dollar bills in my pockets to hand out to street performers. I always try to acknowledge those who are performing.

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    1. You and darlin really exemplify how we should treat others.

      I, too, make an exception to my rule for street performers, particularly if I like what they're playing.

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    2. On the other side of the coin, I was asked last week, by a lady at church, for money to travel to see her sick dad. I didn't have the full amount she requested, but went to my purse to see what I had. I could hear God's voice telling me NO. I could have provided $10, but I just knew that was not what God wanted me to do. Later, when I got home and read the recent prayer sheet, there was a thank you to another lady in our church who had driven the first lady to SEE her dad. I realized that was a much better solution than giving her money. God takes very good care of us who often have hearts that are too soft.

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    3. I love how God talks to you :-) I have the same conversations with Him.

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