Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
I was coming home from a business trip to Florida today and as I was walking from the gate where my plane had arrived to the baggage claim area, a man stopped me to ask for help. He told me that the train was going to cost him $7, but that he only had $4. "Could I possibly give him the necessary extra $3," he wanted to know. Without hesitation, I reached into my wallet and gave him the money he had requested. He was so appreciative and couldn't stop saying "God bless you" as I left.
I've written a number of times about situations like these and the dilemma they can present. On the one hand, there are plenty of con artists out there and this could simply be a scam. On the other hand, he sure looked like he could use a hand; and it's unusual for someone to have at least part of the money they need and to be so specific in their request. I've also come to think that even if some of these people I help aren't entirely truthful about their situation, if they're so bad off that they have to beg strangers for help, then the least I can do is assist them anyway.
It's also an interesting observation that nearly every time I do one of these types of acts of kindness, the recipient offers a somewhat religious affirmation -"God bless you", for example. I'm not really sure just what that's about. I don't know if they're really "believers" in a particular religion, or if it's just a generic way of expressing appreciation. Either way, it's interesting how frequently I've experienced that.
I also took time to pick up any trash I noticed on the ground as I was walking through the terminal. It wasn't a big deal, but I saw it, and there were lots of trash cans around, so why not pick it up?
And, as usual, I made a point to use the name of any worker I encountered who was wearing some kind of name tag. A simple thing that makes the world feel more personal.