It’s been a long day, following a long week so bare with me. Anyone whose ever spent any time in (I’m assuming) any major city has come across someone asking for change. Just a few minutes ago I was on the R train in trying to will the train faster to 34th St so I could run to Penn Station and make my train home when a gentleman stepped on the train, not poorly dressed or dirty, and with a somber and exhausted voice began to tell anyone in ear shot how he had lost his job but was working again but at the moment he and his family were living in a room. Although happy to be able to keep his family together, they have no means of cooking or storing food so everyday they have to buy food to eat.
In all the years I’ve worked in New York I’ve seen so many panhandlers who strategically sit in high tourist spots to try and scam people, but as he walked past me through the car I thought what if he’s telling the truth?
I mean I know I’ve been in tough spots in my life, and I thank God that I never had beg for money. But if it came to it, what wouldn’t I have done for my family. Who wouldn’t do anything for their family?
Reaching into my pocket I felt the change from a coffee I had bought earlier. Hey! Excuse me, I yelled as he nearing the far end of the car. Here you go. God bless buddy. You’d have thought that the dollar and change I handed him was so much more by his expression. As he walked back, suddenly other people started handing him money. Almost like they just didn’t want to be the first person. As he got halfway he stopped, looked at me, and mouthed thank you.
In the end I was able to forget for just a moment about the stresses from the last few days and do something for someone and be the catalyst for others to do the same. Maybe it was a lie, but in my heart and in my gut it wasn’t, and if there is even just a chance that some kids somewhere might not have to go to bed hungry tonight it brought me peace…and it cost me a dollar.