What do you do when someone asks for spare change or stands at an intersection with a sign reading Homeless will work for food? I remember the first time I saw a human begging for food do you?
It was bitterly cold that day; my mother brought blankets so if the car broke down we would stay warm. As we came to a four way stop, a young woman standing in the middle of the four-lane street. Snow had blown up to her knees as the wind was whipping. As we got closer, I realized she was holding a tiny infant. The sign she was holding said ” I am 19 no family but, her ( the baby ) just left abusive husband with clothes on our backs, please help, don’t know what to do.” I turned to my mom waiting for her reaction. I was looking at all the cars stopped right beside her while others sped by.
Was I the only one that could see her? Was she invisible? “Mom, we have to help that girl, she has a baby and….” Don’t worry about her, my mother said. There’s nothing we can do for her. As we drove past her, she looked like the saddest person on earth.
I will never forget that image in my head, nor the feeling of driving right past a person so desperate for help and obviously in need. I have children now. When my oldest was a month or so old, I remember thinking about that young mother. See, at thirteen, I knew she was going through a difficult situation, holding my child I knew it was much more than that.
Never again do I walk past a person in need. I am not rich, or the answers to the hard questions. What I know is that everyone has feelings. We all matter, the same as me or you. If I see someone with or without a sign that seems that may need something. Many just want someone to see them, to say hello…how are you today….Sir…Mam? Please say hello and smile, give a dollar, remember you do not know what your future holds. Treat people the way you would want to be treated.