I don’t see this question being asked. Maybe it’s an uncomfortable question, sometimes confrontational. It shouldn’t be, however, I understand how it could come across this way.
I think some people do not give to homeless because they see so many of them, so it’s the norm’. They don’t understand how an adult can be on a street corner asking for food or money, when they can simply go into a Wal-Mart and apply for a job. Most people don’t understand the basic essentials necessary in not only applying for a job, but accepting feedback from their application, and setting up an interview. So in short, it’s just not that easy – it should be, but it’s not. This may require clothing, food, a shower, a vehicle, a phone etc.
Every single human being ever created is absolutely unique. You agree with me on that right? If so, how can you assume one person, or group of people, are the same?
Back to my original questions, I want to tell you my own experiences when giving, or not giving to a homeless person.
The fact of the matter is, I cannot yet help every single homeless person I encounter. But why do I choose who to help, and how? Again, this action is unique to each individual and circumstance, so I always brainstorm as to what I can do, if anything at all. For instance, this morning I saw a homeless guy named Bones, whom I met a few weeks ago. You can read about our conversation here: Mooch Gets Inspired by Project 50/50. I remember him saying that he prefers food over money, so this morning I came up to him at the corner of the Wal-Mart driveway entrance and handed him a bag of Carl’s Jr. with a couple breakfast sammiches, and a Dr. Pepper. Because this is what he asked for in our first encounter, I knew he’d appreciate the offer. Bones said thank you with a big smile on his face. I then asked him if it was ok if I took him to Denny’s for breakfast next week, and he said absolutely.
This morning when I saw Bones, I originally wanted to pull up to him and tell him to get in the car because I wanted to take him to Denny’s for breakfast. But I didn’t end up doing that, because I was assuming he’d be ok with it. That’s the problem: assumptions. What if he was meeting a friend at his spot in a few minutes? What if by asking him to come with me, he’d be a bit nervous, or even insulted? What if he had a bike, or a few bags of his belongings with him, and didn’t want to leave them in the bush? I instead took what I learned from our first encounter, and gave him the respect he deserves, and asked if what I wanted to offer, was ok with him.
I also see other homeless people who I have only helped by giving them change, or a smile and a hello, or nothing at all. So why don’t I help every homeless person I encounter?
It depends on many factors. I see Bones often, but I don’t give him something every time I see him. But I do say hello. A few months ago, I gave a ride to Kurt, a homeless guy I met at a gas station, after I was actually detained by police for giving him a coke. Peep the video. A few days later I saw Kurt walking through a strip mall, where I asked if he remembered me, and offered him a ride to wherever he wanted to go, so I could apologize for the police incident. It turned out he didn’t want to go very far, but to a nearby McDonald’s, where he often sleeps at night. Before he exited my car, I asked if he needed anything. Kurt asked for money, so I emptied my wallet.
On a side note, I have not seen Kurt since that day. During our conversation he told me he was beaten the night before, so I have been worried ever since. Even scared to ask around if anyone has seen him, because I fear the worst. While I sit down with Bones next week, I plan on asking if he knows Kurt, and if he knows where he might be. I’ll let you know how that goes. I really hope Kurt is alright.
There’s still many people who I have not helped, even though I see them around town. Part of the reason I don’t help everyone is because I have lots of things to do throughout the day. Sure, I could meet every homeless person in town, but I have a job and a business to run, and I need to get some sleep and eat and go to the gym as well. So I must prioritize, and sometimes that means I cannot make a new friend.
I feel like I’m rambling, but I want to get to my point. I cannot help everyone, and sometimes it makes me feel guilty. I keep asking myself, why did I choose to help Bones and Kurt, and not the couple I often see at Target with a sign up asking for help? What about the guy who I still see around town, who I used to always see hanging out with Kurt? What about the guy who looks like he could still be a teenager with a puppy dog, usually hanging around the local library, also with a sign out asking for help?
Do you know what my conclusion is to why I don’t help everyone? The only answer I could come up with is this; “I don’t know.” That by itself only makes me mad. I really don’t have a logical reason. Maybe it’s because it depends on where and when I see them, and how much money I have in the bank, or whether I look and feel like crap, and I want to send out a positive vibe when I meet someone, but put I off meeting them because I don’t feel up-to-par. When I meet someone, I want to make them smile. If I feel I can’t do that, it stalls me.
Am I rambling? I’m sorry, I just want to learn why some people help others, and why some people don’t. I want to hear from you. Why do you give to a homeless person? Why don’t you give to a homeless person? Whichever applies, please comment below.