Today, as I was rushing myself out of the drug store, after being hit on by the cashier, I heard a voice that said: ” Would you help me?” I noticed it was a homeless guy sitting on the floor with a small pre-packed luncheon of ham and cheese that can be easily found at the store’s refrigerators.
I murmured, something like: ” No, I don’t” as an easy automatic response.” Not all the time I have money or snacks ready available, and as awful as it sounds, sometimes I feel bothered or I am in a rush and don’t stop.
Daily, I see more than five people at the stop lights asking for money. Sometimes they just look at me. At least I try to say no with a smile. Other times, I feel scared and I ignore them. Some of them carry a board with a message; sometimes it is too long to read while they walk through the cars. Many of them are drug addicts and because I know whatever you give them they will use for drugs, I don’t feel that compelled. In those cases I have to make an effort to look beyond their condition and see only their need for help as a human being, no matter their struggle.
But with this guy, although I kept walking to my car, I realized he asked me for help.
After having a very short internal conversation with myself, I put my bags in the car and then looked for something to give him, money and food. I came back to him and told him I didn’t have that much and handed him a few pennies I had in the car. I saw his hands full of dirt while he extended them to receive my help. He said: ” It doesn’t matter, it’s OK.” He made a nice gesture when I gave him a small cereal box I had in the car, just in case he wanted it, which he did.
It was the power of a question, asked with humbleness and the implicit meaning of knowing I had the opportunity to help him. How many times do we really ask for what we need? How open are we to receive, by giving?