He was big, black, and he had a banging British accent. I was with the Girl Scouts and we were on our way to the Tube. The man tried to stop us, and asked us for change; naturally, we just continued on our way.
Then, something made me laugh. I don’t remember what it was. I could have accidentally bumped into a friend. I could have tripped a little on my own feet. I could have snickered at how pathetic we were to not even say anything to the poor man. Or I could have just been a very sick person. Anyway, I giggled. Just a little. The girls stared at me.
The man had heard. He stood up, and said, “Girl, you laughing at me? You best not be laughing at me.”
I wasn’t smiling anymore. We walked a little faster down the block to the station, and once we were inside we lost him. But he followed us all the way there just the same. I remember the beating of my heart being the loudest sound as we silently speed-walked there.
Everybody wants to give change to the homeless man because everybody wants to believe that he will use it to buy food, to get better. But not everyone does. There are many drunkies who become homeless after far too many “fixes” that end up destroying the life they planned. You want to be able to trust these feeble people, but that trust is hard to come by. It takes a lot of courage to work in food kitchens, helping out those who have found it difficult to help themselves.
I find myself quite cynical about the whole subject (obviously), probably because my parents are. But lately I’ve been manifesting a new personality, a me influenced by myself, contributor being I. And I think we should all be a little more generous, a little more forgiving. Next time you see a homeless person, wave to him, smile, and dip the change from your wallet into his empty tin can. I’m a firm believer that one good deed can change the world, so open your heart, and allow the thought that this homeless person can heal himself enter your mind. If you can think it, so can he.