It could be you

When I was very much younger, a smart-looking, older lady asked me for $1 for bus fare. I didn’t give it to her – clearly she was well off and didn’t need to beg on the street. In fact, I didn’t even look her in the eye.

Do you know it haunted me? I was ashamed. I thought what I would feel if it was my own grandmother, maybe her purse had been stolen, or she’d been short-changed in a shop and overspent her limited budget for the day, or maybe she really just ran out of money for whatever reason. What if someone had treated her the way I treated this lady?

That one incident absolutely changed my view.

I don’t need to know who you are, and I don’t need to know why you’re begging for money. If you’re in need, you’re in need. The majority of people who are asking for money do so because they have no alternative. Even those who are controlled by organised groups are struggling – if they don’t bring in the money then they don’t eat or have anywhere to live.

Everyone is someone’s son or daughter, possibly someone’s sister or brother, or father or mother. Please don’t judge. If you can’t or don’t want to give money then smile, pass the time of day and walk on. You never know exactly what’s around the corner for you or yours.

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