Carriea31 (carriea31) wrote,
Carriea31
carriea31

When to help?

I went to the store this morning to pick up some donuts for my Sunday school class. I noticed a youngish looking man wandering around in the parking lot, no shirt, not clean, but not entirely filthy. By the time I parked, he had stopped and was digging through his back pack on the opposite side of the parking lot, at the other entrance to the grocery store. I live in a big city, and there are a lot of homeless people, and some people who may or may not be homeless, but are clearly on drugs, and wander around like that. I've never had a problem with anyone, but I try to be observant and make sure to stay in a safe situation. Sometimes they will ask for a dollar or something, but most the time they don't speak to me at all.

Anyway, I went in to the store and to the donut area...I had one of those large awkward cardboard boxes sort of spread out all over the place when I felt someone behind me, so I turned, and it was that man. I apologized for being in the way, and moved my box and my purse over. He spoke to me and said it was not a big deal, and it wasn't going to hurt him to wait for five minutes for a donut, and a few more things like that. After I finished up, we exchanged "have a good day" and I went to the check out.

On my way out of the grocery store, I passed him again. He was walking across the front of the store, no donut, and no food of any kind in hand. He told me to have a good day again as we passed each other, and that was it. I got out of the store, went into my car, and left.

I was left wondering....at what point is it ok to offer something nice? I mean...I have no idea if he had money in his backpack or not, but it seemed in the end that he did not. I don't know. I would have been happy to buy him a donut, but he did not ask, as so many of them do, and he just seemed to be doing his own thing. I wouldn't want to offend someone who is perfectly capable of buying and paying for their own donut, by judging them based off of looks alone, which (sadly) is what I would have been doing had I offered. Yet, here I am walking out with a dozen donuts that are not even for my family, and he had no donuts. I've seen some people just steal a donut and eat it as they walk back through the store toward the exit, but I didn't see any evidence of him having done that. I don't know what the right answer is and I'm left feeling that I should have done something more or something differently than what I did.
Tags: donuts, handouts, help, pity
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