Normally I don’t broadcast it when I give to others, but something happened the other day that I keep thinking about. I had to go downtown for something, and while there, there was an unkempt man nearby asking other people for quarters, and no one was giving him any. He didn’t ask me, but I could hear that his voice was getting more and more agitated and I sensed his desperation, and I was worried about what might happen if he had a meltdown, so I said, “You need quarters? I have quarters.” I dug around in my purse but could only find three. I handed them to him. He said, “I only needed two,” and handed one back to me. Then he said, “Thank you. You’re a nice lady.” I appreciated that he called me a lady instead of a girl. That’s more respect than I usually get out in public.
I have had bad experiences with this kind of thing before with people trying to take advantage, but apparently this guy really just did need two quarters.
I realize that giving people change is a controversial issue because of what they might spend it on. But the way I see it, even if they are an addict, they’re going to get their fix somehow and I would rather them experience a moment of kindness in the meantime. Call me a bleeding heart liberal if you wish.
The thing is, I don’t use drugs or anything, but if I didn’t have a loving family or an employed husband, I could easily end up homeless at some point in my life. Due to my various issues, and despite my best efforts, I am unable to hold a job long-term, and even when I have had a job, I haven’t earned enough to get by financially on my own. I appear normal (once when I did try asking for help, I was told, “You’re obviously an intelligent person; you can figure something out”) and haven’t been (and may never be) officially diagnosed with autism or anything else that would qualify me for assistance, nor do I have the energy and emotional fortitude to jump through all the necessary hoops, so things could very easily take an unfortunate turn for me. I think about that sometimes.
So, I try not to judge a book by its cover, and I err on the side of kindness.