Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Simply Kind Tuesdays #1

Another blog I discovered this past week is Claudia H. Christian's On a Limb with Claudia. Claudia created a new meme entitled Simply Kind Tuesdays. She also created the Everyday Kindness meme. The goal for each is to keep kindness in our blogs and in our minds. It sounded like a great idea to me and another way for me to keep in a more positive mindset so I decided to participate!

A friend and I were waiting at the bus stop downtown, hoping it would hurry so we could get out of the blasted cold and home to our families, when a gentlemen walked up to us and asked for money. His appearance and manner were those of an unclean, unshaven, inebriated or mentally ill man. He wanted $8 so he could get a free meal at the homeless shelter and pay for a shower and cot to sleep on overnight. I have no idea whether or not they charge the homeless for those things.

Well, I've been approached by my fair share of homeless people before and there might have been a time or two when I gave them a dollar bill, but did I hand it over this time? No. My friend, however, did. She just wanted to be kind.

I wanted to be kind as well and when I think about their situation, I feel sick and outraged, and a healthy amount of despair. I've been told by women's self-defense teachers that we're supposed to ignore them or tell them "no" and walk away. You never know when you could be in danger, right? But are all beggars bad people? I think not. Sure, there are those who don't really need your money, who make a healthy living out of panhandling. There are also those who will take your $5 or $10 and spend it all at the liquor store down the block. On the other hand, I know there are millions of homeless people who end up that way because of bad luck. It could be any one of us on the street, especially in these uncertain times. Was I wrong to shake my head no? Should I have dug into my purse and given willingly?

My friend didn't hesitate long in making her decision and I think she decided to give no matter if the man was lying to her or not. Does that make her a gullible person or one who just wanted to be kind?

What would you have done?


  1. Greetings: Just drifting along when I noticed your page.

    To the panhandler, I would have growled, snarled and replied, "Not today, no thank you."

    I mean that, and am not making a remark simply to match my "photograph." I'll give money to the Boy Scouts, or to the child who lives down the street and is collecting money for a class trip. I will drop a couple of dollars into a Salvation Army kettle, and contribute to a benefit for someone suffering from a personal catastrophe not of their own making. But, I will turn my back on anyone who asks (begs?) for a hand out.

    I am neither proud nor ashamed of my attitude toward this type of situation. It simply is part of who I am. The panhandler made his choices in life, and I will make mine.

  2. I've done a variety of things in that situation and have heard a variety of advice. I don't know what the best thing to do is. Maybe we each make our decisions at the moment - our soul speaks - and we act.

  3. Hi, Pamela,
    Thank you so much for visiting my Simply Kind Tuesday post!
    We gave to our local Lighthouse Mission for many years. They say NEVER give money to panhandlers. It is unsafe for you, and not the best for them. They can be better helped through outreaches like Lighthouse Mission.

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I'm so glad you're joining us! I think you reacted to your situation, I don't think you were intentionally unkind. The fact that you have given so much thought to whether you would have given him money if you had stopped to think for a moment does indeed make you a very kind person!


Thank you for your comments. They certainly brighten my day!