Monday, April 10, 2006
Hopping off the bus, with home only a 5min walk away, a sense of relief (the kind that comes at the end of a work day) came upon me. But within 10 seconds, a dark Indian man of medium build and dressed in t-shirt/trousers came up to me. In well-spoken english, he asked me for help in the form of 90 cents and gestured to the bus-stop behind.
I looked into the whites of his eyes sharply contrasted against his dark skin - fear faintly flitted somewhere within. Reaching into my pocket, I found 60cents and thought, that's not much, and gave it to him. No questions asked.
"I need 90cents," he repeated.
"That's all I have," I blurted, smiled, nodded and almost waved goodbye.
I think he thanked me, but can't remember now.
As I crossed the overhead bridge, I immediately weighed what I'd just done and whether it was the right thing to do. This came to mind, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll feed himself for the rest of his life."
Now why did he approach me and not the others in front of me. Do I, in my office attire & intellectual-looking specs, look decent and trusting? Or like a fool who's about to part with his money...
Maybe I should have confronted him and enquired politely but firmly why he didn't have any money on him. Maybe I should have prayed for him. Maybe I should have waited with him till he boarded the bus.
What if he's a cigarette junkie or a drug addict begging for a needed fix? But he did speak well and coherently.
My brother came to the same conclusion as I did, albeit without the misgivings: give him the benefit of doubt. Besides, it's only 60cents.
Over the air: Fernando Corona's Rostro
Posted by This is Ed at 9:54 PM