Have you noticed that beggars are often positioned at major intersections near the shopping temples of Target and Costco? Smart tactic, indeed! Any human with a living soul sees a beggar and feels a tug at their heart; you want to help, but it can be hard to know the best way how. Legitimate questions like these might run through your mind:
- Are they mentally healthy? Are they dangerous? I'm scared to make eye contact.
- Are they being honest about their desperation?
- If I give them cash, will they use it for alcohol or drugs?
- Maybe I'll buy them a meal? But what if I come back with the food and they're no longer here?
If you drive past and ignore the beggar, you know you're a cold-hearted, first-class jerk. If children are with you, you feel their little eyes watching and learning from your display of (or denial of) empathy.
I have a solution to try. Ask the beggar! The next time you see a beggar and you're about to shop, stop and say this:
"Hi, I'm _____. I'm on my way into the store, and I'd like to help you. What do you need? I'll be back with it in about an hour."
Please use the comments to let us know how this goes for you.