Failed Charity

I was walking home from work this afternoon, feeling rather dispirited, when I saw a woman walking towards me. I knew what she was going to ask before she came near, and given my mood at the time, I had an answer ready.

“Excuse me, miss,” she began, “I was wondering if you could buy me some food.”
“Sure,” I replied, then asking for her name, venturing to start a random conversation. She answered me distractedly as I led the way towards the row of food places closest to us.
“Well, there’s a Subway up ahead, we can just go there if you’d–” I started.

“Oh,” she said, sounding rather concerned, “Actually…there’s this Safeway really close to here and..” Taken aback, I silently counted blocks as she continued, having already decided I would not be walking up to the neighborhood Safeway with her.

“Well see, I actually need groceries. Yes, groceries. Not just a meal,” she rambled. I apologized and told her it was out of my way, meanwhile wondering what made her think that this sounded at all reasonable.

“See I have kids at home. And they need food!” she interjected as she watched the expression on my face. I politley told her no and she then began to ask for money.

“What do you mean you can’t?!” she cried, “You can’t spare $3-4 dollars!?” Walking away as I apologized, citing my perpetual lack of cash-on-hand, she continued.

“But there’s an ATM machine! Over there! Yes! Over there, we can go to the ATM machine,” she said resolutely, waving her arms in the direction of this magical ATM.

At this point, my exasperation evolved into irritation, wondering if I should’ve felt guilty for running the proverbial ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ through my head. In the end of course, I got away, leaving her in a parking lot, glaring at me incredulously at my refusal to follow her requests. Oh well for charity.

  1. What a pitty. It’s that kind of ungraciousness that unfortunately makes one think twice when asked for charity.

    • M Prins
    • October 28th, 2005 7:23pm

    A hard lesson! But a lesson none the less. Look within the community for an organiztion that you can support and direct a women like this to. It is almost impossible to tell who really is “in need” and who is in need due to serious underlying problems. Community based organiztions like the Salvation Army have skills in determing “what the real need is.” As you move further from your college experience you will be reminded with greater frequency how blessed you are. The desire to help is natural and a good thing. Direct it to where it can be most prodcutive.

  1. No trackbacks yet.