a dollar for her cup

I'm one of those people who is so torn when I see folks asking for money on the street.
I'd like to be like my friend, J, who does not walk past any of those people without fishing a dollar from her bag.
I'm always wondering...will they use the money for drugs? are they really poor? homeless?
Might they be unwell?

Many years ago, K and I brought a blanket and warm food to a woman who had slept in our building doorway for a few nights. It was Christmas and we wanted to do something. Our good natured intentions were a bit squished when she started shouting at us - demanding a cigar.

These days, as I walk to work, I sometimes pass someone begging. Because it's the holidays (which is a poor excuse) I am soft hearted and have been digging into my bag for a dollar.
Yesterday, I saw a young man stopping people to ask for money. He was about two blocks away and it looked like he was, mostly, being ignored. He was ragged looking and I could feel tears welling in my eyes. I decided, quickly, to find a dollar and not give him the chance to speak to me. I figured that if I handed him the money before he could ask for it I might spare him a moment of dignity. I got the bill, turned up my iPod, and walked confidently - very nearly past him and, at the last moment, just as he opened his mouth to speak, I pressed the dollar into his hand.
It would have been so much smoother if I hadn't had to choke back a sob.
I don't know what in that moment touched me so.
I didn't look back to see him again. I ducked into a doorway and tried not to cry.

I got an email yesterday.
I sent Julia a dollar.
Sure, it could be a scam...and the fellow in the street yesterday might have used my dollar for booze...but, right about now, I choose to believe he didn't.
And Julia? Assures me that she is not a Nigerian Princess.

Go and give a buck to someone. It's Christmas.


I think maybe we see these people (especially if they are young) and wonder how they could be out there. Do they have family?
Anonymous said…
interestingly enough when I followed the link to Julia's page I got a warning from blogger of a possible terms of service violation. read that how you will.
Anonymous said…
I hope her cup runneth over.

And that you're having a wonderful time tonight!

Mary said…
It is the season for giving - and you did the right thing - it is such a good time to suspend cynicism and do what you did..
Miz S said…
Yeah, I give out the dollars. I used to ALWAYS do it. Now I SOMETIMES do it. I guess I'm getting more hard-hearted? Or just giving up?
Anonymous said…
You're an angel.
RW said…
I liked this story.
Anonymous said…
You wear your heart on your cashmere arm warmers, don't you.