Friday, October 2, 2009

Giving Money to the Homeless

Hey there. This morning, I was in the mood for some french vanilla coffee stuffs from Winchell's Donuts. As I was about to walk in the place, a stranger, in torn and ragged clothing, asked me for some money so that he can go inside and get himself some coffee. I admitted that I didn't have any cash on me that I was planning on paying with my card. As I opened the door, I turned around and told him, "You know what, guy. I'll buy you a cup of coffee." So I did, handed it to him, wished him well, and I was on my way to work.

Now, I don't have a problem helping those that need help. If I, someday, we to find myself in the same situation, I would appreciate any help that someone would be able to give. My problem, though, is giving them cash. I'll admit, I've walked by more than a few homeless people asking for change and I've continued walking by even though I had some. My reasoning? I don't want them to blow their money on booze or drugs. I've seen it before. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, I've seen my fair share of people asking for change and then them going to the nearest liquor store only to come out with a brown paper bag. I have a problem with that. I want to help you, friend, but how I do know you want to help yourself? How do I know that you're not just going to buy a bottle of Vodka and sit on the corner and repeat the process when the bottle is finished? This is why I would rather help in getting something than giving cash.

I remember this one time, while out with my friends, we decided to go get us some Popeye's Chicken. It late at night when we pulled up at the drive thru. Before we had a chance to order, a homeless man came up the driver side and asked for change to buy a piece of chicken. My friend, the driver, told him that if he wanted chicken, he'll buy him a meal. The guy refused the meal and wanted the money. Eventually, he walked away with nothing. First hand encounters like this makes me reluctant to hand out a few bucks to those asking for it.

I sent out a Twitter message about the encounter this morning and see that some people agree with my logic while others believed that a few cents should have been handed out. The common conception that I received is that I was being put through a test by god. Now, I don't know about that. I believe that people learn through trials and tribulation and I strongly believe that this man is going through some trials. I go back to my post on Metallica's Low Man's Lyric, I don't know if he's there by choice, or forced there by his circumstances. I simply don't know. What I do know, is that I don't mind coughing up a dollar for a cup of coffee, if that really is what the man wanted. If the man is in need, he will accept my offer, especially when he can honestly say he has nothing.

Sometimes a good cup of coffee starts your day off right. Hopefully, I helped start your day off well, my friend. Later.


  1. That was very nice of you,you did your good deed for the day. I do agree with you though. I may be too cynical but I see too many people trying to scam their way through life. I don't mind helping but I don't want to be taken.

  2. That was really nice of you. Sometimes we tend to ignore these guys but I wonder what made them that way. It could happen to anybody and God forbid, to us as well.

    However, I am always worried that they would go and buy booze or drugs with the money I give them. Maybe your way - buying them the food or drink may be a better idea.

  3. I think someone should buy YOU a Vodka.

  4. I love the ones that are just straight up with me...the last time some guys goes...oiga compa la neta necesito para una chela..i was like kool so I gave him 2 bucks, lol. At least this guy was honest!

  5. I wrote an English Essay last quarter on this very subject "Being Homeless". If you want to check it out, please do so, here is the address to the article in my blog ''. Your post makes a very good point, but my friend (and the subject of my blog post) summed it up nicely when he said "Whatever it takes to get them through the night". :)

  6. Hey there. Different opinions from different folks but definitely a topic that everyone has a view on. I'll check out the essay, "gramma". It's a subject that I'm sure people can debate on forever. I don't necessarily agree on "getting them through the night" since that can be anything from soup to drugs. Thanks for the comments, friends. Later.