View in the mist

Most people, when giving beggars money, I’ve noticed, quickly throw a bit of loose change, avoid making eye contact. Sometimes I wonder if it is because there is this realisation it could have been them, how much they have in common.

I’ve recently decided to give beggars more than I usually would. Instead of just 20 cents or so, a euro. But this week I took it a step further and asked a begging lady with friendly eyes who stood outside the supermarket if I perhaps could buy her some food. She looked at me surprised and hesitated for a moment, then said: “I’d so much would love a chicken for my kids…”

I nodded and went on my way to shop. When I came back out and gave it to her, it was obvious she had never expected me to actually do it. She looked at me as if she wanted to embrace me and uttered ”May God grant you health.” I wished her the same back.

“This is the first time anyone has done this for me, people wouldn’t even part with a piece of bread.” she told me, and in a weird way the boundaries between us melted away with just that chicken. She waved at me when I drove out of the car park and I felt all warm after having had this short moment of unlikely friendship.

Yes, how easily I could have been her. It is only due to the right circumstances that I am not.

Because really, down the gutter is only a step away from luck.

6 thoughts on “Beggars

  1. I was in Dublin recently and I found a fiver on the floor & decided to pass it on to a young homeless couple. As I was handing it over, a man grabbed my wrist and stopped me. He asked, ‘Have you asked them what they’ll spend it on?’

  2. I asked him why that should be any of my business. He said they might spend it on something they shouldn’t. I told him I wasn’t giving it to play god. He then waited around to ask me if they said thank you. They did – but I explained that wasn’t why I gave it to them and quickly got out of his way.

  3. Pingback: What would you do? Beggars… | E.R.Murray

  4. It never fails to surprise me how oblivious people are to their own good fortune and how easily it could be taken away from them. I make a point of talking for a few minutes to anyone I give money to, or at least smiling. However, after buying a begging Viet Nam vet a meal once (my brother is a vet), this dirty, smelly bundle of rags thought I wanted sex in return, so I only do that for women beggars now. 🙂

  5. I offered an apple to this guy curled up in his sleeping bag outside work once. He thanked me but said he wasn’t homeless he was queuing for tickets! :-O I’ve helped others though and I’m betting that chicken must have tasted so good to that woman and her family and you’re right…There but for the grace of God.

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