Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Battle For Change


--by Raqui, posted Jul 30, 2008

I am a New Yorker, born, raised and residing.  We know how much money beggers make a day.  One begger can get about a dollar per 20 people who pass, either in the form of a dollar or in change from several people.  In New York, you can easily get a minimum of 500 people within a 2 hour period passing you.  That is basically 40 dollars every 2 hours.  The number rises if you're in front of a restaurant , a really busy street, or in the subway. Do the math and you can see beggers make more money begging in a day than some people with jobs.

I never give money to people -- never.  But last night around 3 am,  I stopped at a Mc Donalds in Harlem to use the bathroom.  I saw him in the door waiting for me to head over to him so he could open the door for me and ask for change.  I was mad already.  "Why can't I go to the restroom without him asking me for money!" I thought.

I have no problem saying "No" to people who beg for money.  I guess being a New Yorker we are used to it.  But, as I approached him and he held open the door I looked into his eyes and something touched me.  When he asked for change I reached in my pocket but only a nickle and dime was there. I gave it to him.

Sitting in the bathroom I looked through my wallet and found some change -- about 3 quarters, 2 nickles and some pennies.  I was going to just give him the nickles and pennies.  It is hard for me to part with quarters and I battled myself over the change. 

My dialogue in my head went something like this... You don't know what he will do with the money.  But, I really think he is cold and wants something to keep him warm.  Yeah, a warm piece of crack!  But, it is only change, it will come back to you just let him have the quarters!

I am not sure why quarters are so hard for me to give up.  Mentally, I struggled over the Change.

Finally I walked out of the bathroom, Change in hand, and as I went through the door that he held open for me I dropped all the Change in his palm.

I rushed to my truck and wanted to get home because I was so tired.  When I got back in the truck, my fiancee asked, "So you gave him some change?"  "Yes," I said, "just a little change.  He was telling me he wanted to get something to eat."

As we pulled away I watched the man counting the change in his palm and smiling.  I may not know if he was really hungry or not but I know that either way I won the Battle over the Change.  Giving to others always makes you the winner.

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Readers Comments

BedBug wrote: I understand your struggle, but we know that to give freely we cannot give with "conditions" upon how our gift will be used. I'm glad it made you feel good and right to have offered your change in this instance. You surely did the right thing and had a lighter heart because of it.
T V N Murthy wrote: Easy earning should not be encouraged. There is more harm than the benefit to the individual,society or to the nation. People who thrive on easy earning make an emotional appeal by all means. If we open our senses to the other part, we will be realizing the physically challenged have proved one better than the other and earned equal reputation. If you can give them, give fighting spirit and helping hand in fighting the challenge, but not an easy penny.
ss hassan wrote: my purpose of living is to help the helpless so, with this lesson i have learn i will keep on practicing giving as a way of life and lifting others too.
ss frm nigeria
gracieliz wrote: I don't find the act 'tainted', because I think it's just a natural progression when a person is confronted with a situation and his/her heart says,"Hey, wait a sec. Try to look at this differently." Bravo to you for letting go, and I agree with those who say that the gift is the giving. What they do with it is up to them. And if you aren't feeling quite right, you can always offer to go back and purchase some food for the person! That way you get to know where the money went, which is a good thing too.
Bluebell wrote: As most things is life there are two ways of seeing things you can either think of someone who is begging that she/he is making a lot of money and you are just a fool or that person really needs that quarter that will be the difference between having something to eat or not. Either way it's not important, what really matters it's your action and your act of kindness. Also you should be grateful to him that gave you the opportunity to practice your kindness. Love, Light and Abundance to you
Dina wrote: charity is one of the pillars in Islam.. it could be money, doing good deeds to people, and smile.. charity makes one's soul clean and make the mind and heart happy!
akbj wrote: Great, great story, I really appreciate your honesty, I have the same struggles with quarters, LOL. You came out ahead. I can't say it any better than the others have said, but your story really touched me. Thank you.
TonganTigress wrote: personally
its not the battle of the change
really
its the battle
of ones own heart/mind and spirit
whatever the person choses to do with the money given
is their choice
as it is to give
sharing is caring
caring is sharing
to give freely
will be returned freely
in blessings
love
whatever it may be
we are all human beings
from a begger to a rich person
we are all children of god
peace love and light
percyk jhb wrote: It scares me to death when I know that wht I call mine was given to too. But its so hard to give it over.We always saywhat we get are gifts from God but we dont ask God what to do with them.I am scared!!!
donothing wrote: I think a lot of us go through the same mental battle in these situations. For me, that whole drama taints the act in the end. I wish you a more natural response next time, whether it is to give or not!

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