Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hand Outs

Like most of you, I don't usually give money to those who ask for it on the street.

Yesterday, was one of those rare days when I changed my little "policy."

There is a guy in our neighbourhood who is ugly and scary looking. He exudes "darkness." He wears black and he has a heavy dark barely shaved beard and a crooked toothed smile.

He is clearly suffering from some mental disorder.

But, if you've been around this neck of the woods long enough, you will know that this man is harmless. In fact, he is hard working when given the opportunity.

Many merchants on 10th Avenue routinely pay him to clean the street and sidewalks in front of their shops.

I have no idea where or how he lives.

Yesterday he asked me for some change. I didn't have my little change purse with me, so I declined. He said he was hungry and he needed some food. I walked away - about five or ten paces. I stopped and turned around and he turned around at the same time.

I went back and put a five dollar bill in his hand.

I can't really afford to give people five dollar bills, at least not regularly.

But this guy is a part of our neighbourhood. It just felt like a reasonable thing to do.

I'm not telling you what a swell fellow I am. Far from it.

I am saying that sometimes the little rules and policies we adopt for ourselves need some elbow room.


Anonymous said...

It's good to help others. Make it your new motto.

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

I believe I know the man you mention -- I've seen him working for the merchants on 10th. Whenever we walk by with our dog he talks to us and gives our dog a pet. For one thing he is actually willing to work to earn a few dollars and not just ask for a handout (although I've never seen him ask for money). And as you say, he is part of our neighbourhood and we likely wouldn't say no to a neighbour's request for help.