There was this new homeless person outside of Walgreens, squatting on a broken old paint bucket and holding a sign that read “HELP! Hungary and jobless.”
As many others, I walked by without speaking. I went into Walgreens and lifted a sandwich off the shelf. I did something peculiar that day; I convinced myself that I was hungry and therefore required the nourishment of two sandwich.
I held with my left hand the one I liked more, and hid the other under my jacket. Why did I hide it? I was ashamed. But for what? Was I fearful of what others would think of me, when they see this futile act?
The pretext of hunger collapsed as I passed the homeless person. I casually asked, “Want a sandwich?”
He said sure and took it. I walked on to my classes. The whole encounter lasted 1 seconds.
Did I actually help?
A month ago I was outside of McDonald’s, and two homeless people approached me. I gave them my dinner. When they asked for money, I shook my head and said, “That I cannot do.” They disappointedly wandered away for some kinder souls.
This has always haunted me. Did I actually help? Would they have fared better had I minded my own business, allowing them to get on their own feet? Was I in the wrong?
I don’t’ have an answer. Yet, for now, I decided that I will help by not helping.
The Walgreens homeless person was there for the following months. I never once bought two sandwiches.