If you live in Richmond, or any metropolis for that matter, then I know you've seen them. They're the people who stand on the street corners holding signs that generally read, "Out of work. Please help." or "No job. Two Kids. Anything will help." or my personal favorite, "Laid off army vet. Please help. God bless." I'll admit that some of these people really need help. Some may be mentally ill, some may have an addiction, and some may just be in a horrible time in their life. Generally, however, I feel most of these people just prefer to stand on the corner with a sign. I
n the Richmond area, I know of a few who really don't need anything. I've seen them walking through expensive shopping districts, bags in their hands. I've noticed them in malls, and I've seen them out with their families. I've even seen a "change of shifts" a couple of times...watching from my car as one guy comes up with his sign while the other guy takes his sign, grabs a backpack (and a cell phone!) and heads off on his bike. So, needless to say, after seeing all this I rarely (aka never) give to people on the street. Sure, I'll donate to organizations, because I know that plenty of people need help, but giving to the actual people just seems like a bad idea.
So, when I was driving down the road the other day and saw a person in a SUV handout something to one of these people I'll admit I was slightly disgusted. Shouldn't that person know better? You're just throwing away your hard-earned cash! I hoped that instead of cash the person had actually given a note that read, "Get a job!" Yes, my thoughts were mean. As I drove past the person on the street, however, I noticed he wasn't holding cash. Actually, I first noticed he was putting the money in his mouth, and I thought it was really odd. Then I saw what it actually was. The guy in the SUV wasn't handing out money. He (or she) had just handed out a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit (note: It was definitely a breakfast sandwich. I'm just assuming it was my favorite sandwich). The guy eating the sandwich wasn't just enjoying the sandwich. He was devouring it. He really wanted that sandwich.
So I asked myself, "Have I really become that cynical?" I have to wonder if I really think so little of people that I always assume the worst. I spend my free time helping dogs and cats (furry people who can't talk), but I spend little to no time helping people like me. Well, maybe next time I get a breakfast sandwich, I'll think of this guy. Maybe I'll just try to be a little kinder. Maybe one of you will read this post and try a little harder too. I still will probably not give cash to people on the street (I know there are people who need it, but there are too many who don't), but maybe I'll try to do more for the organizations. Maybe just this change of mindset will change other things as well. All I can say is Maybe.