All for Under $5
--by dewolfe, posted Sep 27, 2008
I am not in the habit of giving money to people asking for change. Not because I have no compassion for them, but because there is a good chance they will spend it on drugs, alcohol, or whatever it is that has them on the streets in the first place. However, I will have a chat with them. Some of them, that's all they want.
Sometimes they speak to me and instead of ignoring them or averting my eyes like many people, I respond and then take a few minutes to chit chat. Many of them asked for anything, they just wanted someone to chat with.
One day I was walking to pick up Amanda from her work at sobeys and there was this elderly couple looking run down. The woman came up to me and asked if I could spare some change for food because they'd been travelling all night to visit their daughter and have no money...etc. I had about $60 in my pocket since I was about to do some grocery shopping but instead of giving her some change to spend on who-knows-what, I asked if I could buy her some food instead. At first she declined saying she wanted the money so I told her I couldn't help her. Then, as I started walking away, she changed her mind. We started walking towards sobeys while the old man stayed sitting at the bus stop.
As we walked to sobeys I noticed she had on this bright colored necklace made up of large beads. I told her that she had a beautiful necklace at which she beamed at me and told me it was a gift from her granddaughter. She looked so proud that her 8-year old granddaughter made it for her. As we came to the parking lot, she continued to ask that I go in and she'd wait outside for me. She kept glancing nervously around at the people in the parking lot and stayed out there, not even coming to the entrance of the store. She looked ashamed.
I asked her what she wanted, expecting her to starting naming off the most expensive foods in large quantities. I was fully prepared to let her know the limits I had set, since I am struggling with money myself. Instead, she put me in my place, reminding me yet again to not be so judgemental and assuming, by asking simply for some buns and a pack of bologna or whatever the cheapest lunch meat was. While shopping, I threw in a pack of juice boxes along with the pack of lunch meat and bag of crusty bun rolls.
She was so greatful when I came out with my bag of groceries for her. She kept saying, "Thank you so much, you're so kind, thank you thank you," with a beautiful smile on her face. All that sincere thanks and amazement and pleasure had cost me under $5. Who even thinks of $5? Not too much you can do with that.
You should feel good about what you did!