Did I do enough to help someone in need?

I was at a McDonald’s recently, and a homeless man was outside asking for help.

I live in a decent area of town—at least I think it’s nice—yet only 1 1/2 miles away we have many homeless Austinites who congregate. I know it’s 1 1/2 miles because I used to jog to the McDonald’s and back sometimes as a way of running 5K to stay in shape. And no, I didn’t stop and eat at the McDonald’s on those runs.

Anyway, I watched for 20 minutes as many people passed him by, not even looking at him, like he wasn’t even there, though clearly he was.

It was hotter than the devil’s stove and lunchtime. My Andy sense—or Eagle Scout sense of duty or whatever you want to call it—was tingling in the pit of my stomach: I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t let another human suffer the shame of being ignored while in need.

I took a large cup of water and a cookie outside to the man, and he was very thankful. He complimented me on my pink Led Zeppelin T-shirt, and I thanked him.

Later, I thought: Was a cookie enough, and furthermore, should I have given him my shirt? Certainly he needed it more than me. I have other shirts. Heck, that Zep shirt doesn’t even fit me very well anyway.

I drove back by the McDonald’s still wearing said shirt, but the man was gone. Sometimes the McDonald’s employees shoo away the homeless folks.

I was totally willing to buy him a meal and talk about Led Zeppelin—even give him my shirt. But he had melted into the woods or some nook or cranny somewhere.

I wondered if he knew Al. I wondered if I had done enough to help him; I only gave him a cookie I didn’t eat, after all.

It’s easy to think, “Go get a job” when we see homeless people asking for help, but we don’t know a person’s whole story. I guess giving a little was better than nothing.


5 thoughts on “Did I do enough to help someone in need?”

  1. I too have done both, given when I have, or walked or driven by when I have not. I am not really a humanitarian. If I have time, I will occasionally buy lunch for an individual, tho it is usually fast food, so I am not really doing them much of a favour health-wise. It gives me a great boost to hear their gratitude, though it is not a big deal. A loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter go a long way. Homelessness is a BIG problem In Vancouver, the most temperate city in Canada. They deserve our compassion and I am happy to read that your heart is in the right place Andy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve got a big heart that would be crushed by New York City. Although, I have to say that I have my guys (in our neighborhood they’re mostly men). After 10 year of living here, I know two guys well enough that I give. One guy’s got my number. I’ve bought him groceries, a very big dinner at the Chinese takeout, etc. But I ignored these guys for years until recently. I should just stop and chat, I know (which is what you would do, Andy). I do have a relationship with them, but I’m afraid if I start to care too much, they’ll be coming home to live with me (I live across the street from where they set themselves up). Well, that was way more than you needed or wanted to know, but there you have it!

    Liked by 1 person

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