Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Yesterday on my way home from work, I was sitting in traffic and I saw a homeless man with his cardboard sign doin his thing covered in the relentless falling snow. I see this man almost daily standing there next to the busy street waiting for someone to be generous and give him some money, food, or whatever it is he really wants. I obviously dont know what his story is. I dont know how he became homeless. I dont know if he takes the money people give him and to spend it on alcohol, drugs, or food. It may be because I almost always try to give people the benefit of the doubt or generally see the good in humanity, but if he was in fact going to spend the money on food, or on clothing to stay warm in the frigid weather, I could spare a few dollars to give this man.

So thats what I did. I looked in my wallet and found $6. I initially pulled out my $1 bill to give to him and looked at it while I left the $5 bill inside my wallet. At that moment the song What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong came on, and something about it made me put back the dollar bill and take out the $5. I rolled down my window and waved the guy over to my car. I gave him the $5 and said "Try to stay warm out here." He looked down at the money and looked at me in shock that I was giving him more than just my pocket change. He thanked me a few times, put the money into his pocket, and walked slowly away as I drove off. So hopefully that man did buy some food or used it on something good.

I rarely see homeless people in Pittsburgh being given money. However, the other day, while sitting at a stop light, a new 3-Series BMW stopped at the light. An older woman with short blonde hair sat in the driver seat, with a sky blue sweater wrapped around her neck like you see preppy people do in the movies. Next to her car was a homeless guy holding his sign, and she rolled down her window and gave the guy money. Watching something like that really stuck with me. I really enjoy seeing people doing things to help out one another. Whether its shoveling snow off of an old persons steps, holding a door open for someone, or giving a homeless man money, it really beholds what part of life should be about. Helping out other people for no benefit is what everyone should try to do. Its these little things that I like to think are infectious. Once I saw that I wanted to go and do something kind for someone else. Its generally is something I always try to do.

These ads pretty much sum it up...


Mind Of Mine said...

I commend you for generosity. I prefer to give donations for charities, for instance homeless shelters. At least that way I know the money will not beused on alcohol or drugs.

DrRuss said...

You and I saved someone's life today. Thank you.

As I was walking home in the snow today, I pulled someback back to the curb because the oncoming car was not going to be able to stop in time with the change of light.

After having reading this post and seeing the second clip you provided, I instinctively put my hand out and reached for the guy to prevent him from getting hit (much like the women in the commercial).

Realizing what just happened, he started to cry and couldn't stop thanking me. He kept on saying "You saved my life and now my two little kids still have a dad."

So, all the way in NYC--you saved a life today.

Michael Rivers said...

Great post! Good to remember!

Anonymous said...

God Bless You. You are a kind and generous person.

I think this gift to the homeless man, and it was a gift, was more than five dollars.

I get a sense that this is just one example of your caring for your fellow man.

Another was your recent, anonymous intervention on behalf the neglected, indigent childen who live across the street from you.

Again, make no mistake about it: You are one of the good guys, and you do, indeed, carry the light. Our world thirsts for more people like you.

That said -- and it is sincere, I will admit that I do not give cash to the "homeless."

I am much older and more cynical than you. I do my best to be kind and helpful. I am generous with charities that I respect.

When I see someone "homeless" soliciting money, I offer a look, a smile, perhaps a nod, and always a silent blessing/prayer on their behalf. I realize that there, but for the grace of God, go I.