Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Why Didn't He Take The Peach?
I did some grocery shopping at lunch today, because lunch time seems to be my only time available to get things done these days. I went to my favorite place again - Community Natural Foods, and picked up these lovely B.C. Organic Peaches (whatever Organic means - more of that later when I review "The Omnivore's Dilemma"). Anyway, they were lovely, and juicy, and fresh. So, on my way to the train to hit up my second job, I saw a gentleman sitting on the side of the street whom I see most days just sitting there, pan-handling. He's a refugee of some sort from an African country, that much is clear, and evidently has suffered some serious trauma. (which you can see in his dead eyes) So, because I never ever have anything to give him, I was really excited that I had these peaches in my bag to offer him one. As I walked by, I handed it to him, and he just shook his head, didn't even look up or anything. 2 people behind me saw it, and they were shocked. I mean - he's there every day, we all see him. I was shocked, but not intensely so. I mean, there are many reasons one could end up on the street. In Calgary, the big ones are 1. Drug Addiction 2. Mental Illness 3. Just can't afford to live, pay rent, or what have you (more and more common here) A lot of these folks have jobs. Anyway, I had mixed feelings about this gentleman refusing my peach. I don't like to give people money, I'd rather give them food, or, donate to an organization that I KNOW is going to help them. He sits there every day with his plate of change, and it's hard to know what is the right thing to do to help him. Evidently, it was pride that prevented him from taking my peach. I can understand that. I'm sure it is a massive blow to his pride to end up there on the streets of a country far away from his home. I'm sure - also that he suffers from the after effects of the trauma he's faced. So, I really do feel for him. I wonder though, why he refuses help (even in something as small as a peach). Many people would look and judge, and say - all he wants is the money, he doesn't really need your help, this is his full time job. I know there's some truth in that, but it doesn't make it any less painful to see the sad state he's in. How can you help someone that doesn't want to be helped?