He said, "Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas."
I said, "Same to you."
Then I prayed for him to receive more blessings than cold shoulders.
Other people might not do the same because they'd think...maybe he's addicted to drugs, and he should be putting money towards feeding himself than getting high. Others might also say that it's his own fault that, for some reason, he's on the streets begging, and he shouldn't get any kind of attention because he brought this situation on himself. People might think there are plenty of places he could go. There are soup kitchens and shelters. He needs to help himself. Try a little harder. But maybe he did try, and tried and tried again.
If You Don't Know, Now You Know...
Unemployment hiked up homelessness, and so shelters are over capacity in an attempt to accomodate everyone in need. Some shelters have to turn people away. It is even harder to accomplish this in the winter months! Here are a few links of news stories regarding this issue between 2009 and 2010:
- Suburban Homeless: Rising Tide of Families
- Overflowing homeless shelters forced to turn away families
- In recession, shelters short on space, funding
- Budget trims lead homeless shelters across Mass. to cut services and beds
- Homeless network closing Seattle shelters
- Shelter Is Even More Tenuous
The bottom line is that even if I were out on the streets, whatever my history, I'd essentially still be a human being trying to survive in this world...a whole lot like you. I don't think it's fair to judge or blame the men and women on the streets who may need a bite to eat. In this economy, you could be next.
After the gentleman and I exchanged our wishes for a happy holiday, I drove off a happier person, and I am confident he walked away a little happier too.