Yesterday, after picking up some bagels, after getting some gas, after climbing, a tattooed gentleman approached me in the parking lot. He introduced himself as Josh and went on to explain his situation to me. Work had made a mistake with his paycheck and he wouldn’t be getting paid until Monday. Josh and his little son Brandon are both diabetic and their food-stamps have run out. They were in dire straits before, and they’ve been on the street for the last few days. He is a Christian, but none of the churches he’s gone to have helped him in the least. His son needs diapers, Josh needs money to take the bus, and they both need food.
He showed me his Insulin and his food-stamps card to prove he wasn’t lying, even though I didn’t think he was. Josh needed some money to keep himself and his son on their feet until he got his check on Monday. In the end, I drove him to the ATM and took out some money. I wish I could have done more, but I did what I could.
As I’m driving him back to the bus stop, he tells me that he’s talked with over 100 people already that day and had nothing to show for it. People would get out of their $80,000 cars and tell him that they “couldn’t help.” One guy went into Taco Bell promising to get $80 there for him. Josh waited around and went up to him when the guy was leaving. The other guy then bit into his taco and spat it into Josh’s face. Another lady threw a soda at Josh and his son Brandon. Another guy threatened to hit Brandon with his car. Several people promised to come ‘right back’ with food, cash, or gift cards, and (of course) didn’t.
I’m a fairly jaded individual already, so I know that people are terrible. I hadn’t heard about things like that though. If you’re not going to help, then don’t help, no need to go out of your way to attack someone. Montgomery County, MD is a more affluent area, so people have money to give. But as we noticed yesterday, the more someone has, the less willing they are to give it away. Josh really needed help, to the point where he was willing to beg from strangers. I haven’t been in that situation yet, and hopefully I never will be. It takes a measure of humility to debase oneself and freely admit that you cannot take care of this without help. Hopefully things work out for Josh and Brandon. But chances are, I’ll never know.
No one has ever become poor by giving.