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Sometimes, too many times, I find myself deeply disappointed with humanity. And I know, that’s such a bold statement, right? And what qualifies me to feel this way? Well, I’m not completely sure either but based on a few experiences this is my opinion —
Yes, I’ve heard the saying a thousand times (something along the lines of): ‘To see a change you alone must make change in yourself first’.
But even in a case such as the one I experienced, with the amount of people around me, I really felt no sense of hope or kindness from a single one of them…
I had went to visit home last week and had to take a bus there (10 hours – crazy, right?). While on a ‘layover’ where I was waiting for another bus is NYC, in a line of 25+ people, a man with a pile of cash in his hand came over and said he needed just $4 to get his bus ticket; “Even $1, $2 or $3 will help me out, please,” he said. I suddenly felt a strong feeling of not only guilt, because of the amount of cash I had in my purse, but sadness because everyone around me either looked away or simply stood starring. Now yes, of course I need my money. I’m a broke, 20 year old college student. In this day and age, who doesn’t need their money? But $4? All I could think was he needed that $4 more than I did. After waiting 5 minutes, seeing if maybe someone else would spare him the change, they didn’t and I pulled open my purse and gave him $5.
I was shocked that not a single person before me couldn’t spare not even a single dollar. As soon as I gave him the money he went straight to the nearest ticket booth. Whether anyone had an suspicion that he might be using the money for other, illegal reasons, even if he really were to use the money for something other than a ticket, did all of those people there really have no hope that maybe he really did just need help? And $5, really, what will that buy you? 2 waters?
I just really couldn’t believe it. There had to be some kind of hope and kindness among those people to spare even a dollar, but there wasn’t. A family member could have passed in his old home town, he could be separated from his child and their birthday was coming up; All because he was (most likely) poor and looked as though he was under bad circumstances didn’t mean that he wasn’t a human being who for $4 needed the help and human decency of other people.
Truly shameful and sad that out of all of those people I was the only person who could be a bit optimistic and spare $4 for a person in need.
I told a few family members about the situation when I arrived home and they all laughed, thinking I was so silly and naive: “I bet all the money he had in his hand that that was not going to a bus ticket. We’ve all made the mistake before but now you’ve learned. All those other people knew better not to give him a dime.”
But is that really right? Am I really that wrong in sparing $4 to a person in need?
Optimism can often be misleading, but lending kindness to a stranger in need should never be second guessed.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!