Lucia has something to say

Saturday, March 24, 2007

In Need

I was pumping gas. Putting in just a few gallons because the price is high. And he walked up. In his 30s. Not well dressed. Not well spoken. He talked in a low voice. “This isn’t a scam. See that van over there? My wife and daughter are in it. We’re 120 miles from home, and I just don’t have any money left. Can you give me $12?” My standard response is no. It’s based on a tap dance about social service agencies, responsibility, yadda, yadda, yadda. Today I didn’t hesitate. I dipped into my wallet and handed him a $20. He didn’t say much. Just walked away with his head down. I realized that reading Jen’s blog has changed me. I don’t know how he’ll spend it. He may buy food. He may buy gas. He may buy meth. He may laugh his ass off about my gullibility. And he may not. He may just be grateful. And me? I’m not going to miss $20.

Earlier this week a wise and wonderful friend identified for me a need we all have, but don’t often think about. The need for the well being of others. This need might be what drives us to work in prisons, in developing countries, and with the homeless. It may motivate us to have families and to volunteer. It may be the need I’m not thinking about but responding to in handing over a few dollars.


Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

That was a wonderful thing you did. Inspirational. thank you.

4:11 PM  
Blogger thailandchani said...




5:15 PM  
Blogger meno said...

Good for you.

I found myself giving a few dollars to a person in the streets the other night for the first time ever in my life because of Jen's blog.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Gordo said...

Good for you, Lucia.

I got burned three winters ago by a panhandler on the street across from my wife's office. I'd seen him there for some time. We're waiting for Bridget, he's asking passers by for change. I'd given him a dollar or two a couple of times, but this night was different.

It was very cold and he had no gloves. He appeared to be in great distress, huffing into his hands, tears streaming down his face. I got out of the van and gave him my gloves. My favourite pair of nice gloves: light brown suede, lined with phoney wool. Not expensive, but nice and warm. I also gave him a couple of bucks and told him to keep warm. He was very grateful and friendly, as always

Two days later: it's just as cold, wind howling down the street and there his is again. Same chapped, red hands, same tears, same rocking "to keep warm". My gloves were nowhere to be seen.

I haven't given anything to a panhandler since. Although, I've felt my heart thawing a touch of late. I hope it's healing.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

Lucia. You have no idea how happy I am..sitting on my couch on a saturday night smiling my butt off.

Yes. See, it's this. It's the I becoming We.

Thank you.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Eastern philosophies all talk about not being tied to the results of your labor, and I think this is the sort of thing they're talking about. You did your part, and while you hope he spent the money wisely, that's really up to him.

The important thing is that you did what you could.

6:26 AM  
Blogger gary rith said...

whew, I was at the animal shelter open house today and there were so many sad and hopeful eyes looking out at people....I have heard it said that Buddha believed the purpose of life is to relieve suffering, and what a huge task that is.

2:48 PM  
Blogger amusing said...

Blogger ate my words -- here they are again:

Kids in the car, stopped at a light. On the left, guy selling newspapers. On the right, guy selling pies. It's cold and snowing. I point out to the kids these guys are working to make a few dollars, in the snow, with no hats, gloves, winter coats. I ask them to consider how cold those men must be and how much they must need the money.

"Daddy says sometimes those people are crazy or they just want the money to spend on getting drunk," says the Eldest. And I sink a little, realizing I am the ying and he is the yang and it will always be like this.

I tell him those people are sick and wouldn't it be nice if there was a warm place they could sleep and have a doctor help them get better? That not everyone is like that. And he agrees that everyone should be able to be warm. And we drive off toward our warm beds in the deepening darkness of a winter night.

11:41 PM  
Blogger KC said...

This in the air we breathe.

8:06 PM  

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