How do you know when a beggar genuinely needs help or is trying to exploit you?
Last week while sitting in the food court of the office complex where I work, a man approached my table.
I eat alone. By choice.
I’m nice to people all damn day - this is one hour I don’t have to smile at y’all. Back the hell off.
This gentleman, though, walked up to my table very respectfully. If he had a hat, it would have been in his hands.
He said, “Excuse me, ma’am” and waited for me to look up. Cuz I was Quora-ing and it took a sec.
When I made eye contact, I instinctively gave him the scan.
55-ish. Hair and beard are kempt. Clothes aren’t fancy but they’re clean.
Body language - respectful more than anything. Doesn’t want to impose. Hates being in this position but has to ask, one more time, after all the times before.
He’s not hitting on me - he wants money.
I looked him in the eye and waited.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but could you help me get a bed at the Salvation Army for tonight? They charge $9 a night and I could sure use…”
I don’t actually know if he finished his sentence. Or if the Salvation Army in my city charges $9 a night for a bed to sleep in.
I had a visceral reaction to this particular man, and I wanted to help him in some small way.
I gave him all the cash that was in my purse - which wasn’t much. He was so grateful, I felt ashamed that I hadn’t given him more.
He moved on with a smile…but the smile he left me with was bigger than his, because I had trusted myself and the Universe, and I had followed my heart.
Basically - you can never know.
You make the decision, in the moment, to give or not give to that person. You can only base that on your observations and gut feelings.
If, in the end, you feel good about what you did, then you did the right thing.
Go out and help people. If you offer, let them accept. Don’t keep tabs on pennies.
We have so much; all we can do is give freely.
*EDIT* I have never done this before, but I will just say now, after 97+ comments, that I don’t want to, nor will I, debate with you whether this man or any other person who is asking for help is actually in need or not. I made my choice and I stand by it.
If you have another opinion, write your own answer. I will no longer respond to these comments.
Neteller here: www.ituglobalfx.com.ng