Wednesday, 9 September 2009

To give, or not to give, that is the question..

The lovely Jo, over at Diary of a Sad Housewife posted an interesting question today about homeless people... do you give them money or not?  Apparently one of our fair city's better known beggars (which these people are, let's not mince words here) is making $400 a day just by sitting outside one of our bigger department stores, asking for help.

I have no issues with the guy, I just wonder how he fell into the homeless hole & why he can't get out of it... and also I'm not going to pass any moral judgements, because I'm reminded of that saying about "never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins..." but I don't make $400 a day by working hard.  

Also, I'm amazed how it's always the people who can least afford it who give money to beggars.  Those of us with more than we need (and let's not mince words here either, that's me) do it the tax deductible way... the people who give him cash money get nothing except a warm fuzzy feeling.

Anyway, my experience was an interesting one; as a general rule I turn down people on the street who ask me for money, but about 5 years ago, on the 20th December (a day of some significance in the Golightly household), also the day of our office Christmas lunch, I was going to the dentist.  A man approached me and asked for $2.80.  I just said "no, sorry" and walked on.  Then I thought about why he was asking for such a specific amount, so I turned back & asked him.  He told me he'd just been released from Prison, had accommodation for two nights & was trying to get the funds together to stay somewhere over the Christmas break, and thought he'd have more luck if he asked for a small amount.  I gave him $50 without even thinking about it.  

My husband's boss says I was scammed.  I don't care, I have to say.  What do you think?