The Man on the Street

Today as I was leaving downtown, a man stopped me as I was getting into my car. He showed me what looked like an ID and some paperwork. He mentioned that he was in a halfway house, having just got released from jail/prison not long ago. He asked me if I had any money so that he could feed his family. Now, it’s not uncommon to be asked for money, but this guy specifically asked for food. I told him I didn’t have any money on me, which was true. However, I didn’t mention the credit card in my wallet. I gave him the $1.25 in change I had in my car.

What got me is that the guy broke down and started crying. He looked totally defeated. I handed him the change, told him to keep his head up and got in my car and drove away. It didn't take long for the dread to set in. I wish I would’ve done more. He was polite. He mentioned how most people would just ignore him and keep walking. He apologized for “bothering me.” I assured him that he wasn’t bothering me. If I could do it again I would’ve sat down and talked to him for a little bit. To let him know that everything is going to be okay. To treat him like the human being that he is. To actually listen to him and treat him as a person worthy of respect.

It can’t be easy to have to ask strangers for things. It’s probably very difficult and requires putting your ego aside and asking for help because you need it. It’s a very courageous act.

I can’t get this guy out of my mind. Seeing him crying and broken like that broke a little piece of me. I feel for him and I hope that it all works out.

I’m thinking about you. I should've offered more of myself -- and for that I apologize.