This will be a quick one.
I sometimes give loose change to homeless people, but now I never will. On Sunday, a group of us were getting into my car and leaving a confidential location when a man aggressively approached us. He came very close to my car door claiming he had just been released from the hospital and needs money for the bus, just $4.50. The truth was, I had no cash on me. But my friends were more than willing to help because they’re nice people, or maybe they just wanted to be left alone. So they handed over a few dollars and some change and we drove away. Only to see that same man approaching the next car begging for money again. Long story short, he clearly wasn’t collecting bus fare, he was scamming people into giving him much more than that. Call me harsh, but I won’t be funding your drug addiction.
When it comes to situations like this, I won’t be handing over my cash. I’ll help you out with food or water if I can but still I’m hesitant. A friend of mine shared a story of the time she helped a woman out by taking her to Starbucks to get food to hold her over. The woman proceeded to order 3 sandwiches when my friend offered her a croissant. Laughing she said, “No, you aren’t getting a cake pop too”.
Don’t take advantage of people’s generosity. You’re only hurting yourself and the people who really need the help. So, sorry, but no.
4.25.17 An update-
Yesterday I was sitting outside and there was a couple sitting at the picnic table behind me. I listened and observed as a man, who may or may not have been homeless, approached them and said “I was wondering if I could borrow some of your time and if you could help me out with a milkshake.”
They were seriously confused.
The man said again, “I just want some time. I’m not asking for money or nothing.”
He was nervously fidgeting with some coins in his hand but I watched as the man literally sat himself down on the ground and had a conversation with the couple. It was a refreshing approach to something that I have become so cold and closed off to. When they were finished talking, the man got up and walked away and didn’t bother anyone else in the area.
All he wanted was some time, and that is something we should all be willing to give.