Man with a Bicycle

This afternoon, in the parking lot of a shop, a man about 40 walking a bicycle came up to me. He handed me a slip of paper on which he had written something and indicated, without talking, that he wanted me to read it. His jaw was broken, the note said, and he lost his job. He cannot talk until the jaw heals. He is trying to find money to feed himself and his family. We are so dependent on plastic these days that I wasn’t sure that I had any cash on me.  I went through my purse and wallet and came up with three bucks, which I gave him.  He was pleased and nodded his thanks. I apologized that it wasn’t more, and he gestured with his hands and a slight shake of his head that the apology wasn’t necessary. Still, I wish I could have done something more, and I am still thinking about this interaction many hours later. I have to make a point to carry more cash, if only so I can give more away to those whose need is greater than mine.

Target number for today is 60.6. I walked 5827 steps. I consumed Brown Cow raspberry yogurt with maple granola, two dried apricots, two roasted sweet potatoes, one ounce of dark chocolate with orange peel and salad with grilled chicken breast. I didn’t have to beg for money to feed myself or my family. I am blessed.

 

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3 thoughts on “Man with a Bicycle

  1. You’re a good person, but I’ve heard so many stories downtown from people whose families are sitting up on 35 or 75 waiting for them to come back with gas that my BS-detector is way too sensitive to give money to people who ask directly. There is also a man in the past year who after being given a few dollars by a co-worker in the parking lot of our office just north of downtown who would come back repeatedly to knock on our building’s back door to ask for more until he realized that no, we won’t give handouts there.

    My church has a food pantry (no religious spiel given and no requirements other than signing a form on which one says one meets the state’s income guidelines) which I support financially and with my time, and I give to other charities, but encouraging panhandling isn’t something I personally can do.

    Of course others may disagree, and I do think that panhandlers deserve at least a “Sorry, no” instead of being ignored.

    • David, I too, often say no. Usually it is the truthful, “Sorry, I don’t have a bit of cash on me.” I don’t what it was about this guy that had the ring of authenticity for me, and perhaps I was duped, it just didn’t feel that way. When my dog was lost for nine days, in 2008, I gave money to everyone who asked, and cheerfully. I had stopped at the Kinko’s downtown to make more “lost” posters and was searching in the car for change to put in the meter, when a guy came up and asked me if I could spare some money. I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, it appears I don’t even have change for the meter.” He said “Well, I have change for the meter!” and put the money in. We chatted for a few minutes and I ended up going around the corner with him to the “Chinese” restaurant run by a Hungarian couple. They put a poster for the dog in the window. A student from Sinclair was in there eating and he took some posters. I paid $6 for the man’s dinner, and I still consider that money well-spent. I don’t know if I was reunited with my dog because I spent every day pouring love into the universe, but I figured it wasn’t going to hurt. And even now, when I think back to the euphoria that washed over me when she ran to me from behind the Hospice (more than five miles from our house) it makes me weep a little.

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