October 30, 2009

Giving Back

Since I have been off my feet for a couple weeks now, I have had so much extra time to spend studying, working and what not. If you know me, you know that I love to go to Starbucks and read, work or study. An incident at Starbucks I encountered this past Sunday has really left its mark and has me thinking.

I went to Starbucks last Sunday to get some work done and do a little studying for my Finance exam. I always sit next to a window, not sure why, but I always do. As I was reading, I heard this thumping coming from outside of Starbucks. When I looked out the window, there was a man who was shaking metal racks with newspapers in them. My first thought was that he had stuck a quarter in the slot and he couldn't open the little door on the box to get his newspaper. He shook the rack for 5 minutes or so. I'm not going to lie, I was giving him the evil eye from inside Starbucks because it was getting really annoying. Once he was done shaking the rack, he moved on to the Seattle Times rack. He shook that thing for another 5 plus minutes. I couldn't tell what he was doing, but all I know is I was about to lose it. The man then walked inside of Starbucks. He was a shorter, very overweight man with big coke bottle glasses on. It became very apparent to me that he most likely had a mental disability. He had two bags over his shoulder as he stood at the entrance of Starbucks. The man began to walk towards me. He approached me and the lady sitting next to me. The man reached in his pocket and pulled out a plastic cap from a Coca Cola bottle. He went on to explain how he had found this cap that was a "buy one get one free" coke. The man had no money and wanted to know if either of us could spare a little change so he could go to Haggen and get a Coke. The lady and I were rather rude and said no when it was very apparent we both had money on us since we had just purchased coffee. He hung his head low and looked devastated. The man then approached every single person in Starbucks for a little bit of change for a Coke. Not one person in the whole entire Starbucks had a little change to spare for this man.

Ask any one I know, and they will tell you I refuse to give money to homeless people. I work hard for my money and I don't think I should have to give my hard earned money to someone else who made poor choices. This man then walked outside of Starbucks with his head hung low. He walked back to those newspaper racks and shook them like none other. Finally hit me, he was trying to get change from the newspaper racks. The man appeared to be crying. As he wiped his eyes, he then walked away from the newspaper racks.

My heart sank. This man did not look like other homeless people. He was clean, did not appear to be on drugs or have a drinking problem. This man probably had a really hard time finding a job in this recession. Little old me sitting in Starbucks in my designer jeans talking on my blackberry didn't have a quarter to spare? I didn't have to give the man money, but I could have walked with him to Haggen and buy the Coke for him so I knew the money was being spent on the Coke, and the Coke only. Talk about being selfish.

It is now Friday, and I cannot stop thinking about this incident. I do not know this mans past and I do not know what choices or incidents happened to him to get him in that predicament. All I know is that man was in a very deep and lonely place. Not everyone in this world is as fortunate as I am to have a home, a job and an education. Of all people, I should know how bad this recession is since I am studying finance and economics. Many people have lost their jobs and cannot find a new one, not because they aren't qualified, but because the economy is so poor right now. I know I don't agree with handing money to "homeless" people who stand at the off ramp of the free way, but I can give back in different ways. I have decided I am going to find a way to give back this winter. Whether it be volunteering for a soup kitchen or donating to a food bank. There are people out there who need help and who are desperate. I can donate a little bit of my time and a little bit of my money because in the end, every little bit helps.

I will keep this man in my heart and continue to pray for him. Shows me just how blessed I am and how thankful I need to be for everything I have and every opportunity awaiting for me in this life. There is so much to be happy about and so much to live for :)


  1. Good heart! ...May be you can help me to raise funds for Cancer Childhood organization in Spain?


    My last action, I raised 2,480 Euros for them...


    Take care,

    "XTB" Xavi.

  2. Don't worry ! You can't help everybody.

  3. You're a good person to feel bad for that incident. Be glad about that. Next time give a bit if you feel it's worthy. Do not walk with a stranger to make sure he uses it properly though. That's too dangerous and not worth the risk. Just hope he does and if he doesn't, really, what does it matter. I'm with you regarding not wanting to give my hard earned dollars to homeless ppl most the time and for the same reasons.

  4. it takes a lot of strength to see the invisible. ty for sharing and for having the courage to want to help.

  5. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.


  6. Had a girl who has a dog (I have a soft spot for the homeless with a dog) and I always have the same feelings as you. On several occaisions when faced with this it is hard to figure out what to do. In her case I gave her a bus pass that had some money on it and bought a bag of food for her dog.

    My wife and I ran into a similar situation down in Memphis with a girl who had a dog on the side of the freeway. Bought the dog some food, two big bottles of water and got her a sandwich from Subway.

    I agree, that as long as I KNOW the money is going for something good I am ok to give it. Best way to do that is make sure you get the stuff for them yourself and give it to them.