A Matter of Conscience
She was on the subway train again today. To my surprise, she wasn’t that eager to ask for money. She started with her usual spiel. That she had multiple sclerosis. That she needed money for her medication. But this time, nobody paid attention. Somehow her pleading lacked conviction. She was lucky to even get a dollar.
You’ll meet folks like her during commute hours. To many, the train ride is nothing but a way to go to work in the morning or to go home at night. But to some, it’s a place to beg for money, sell merchandise, or preach the gospel. Still, in the early morning and late evening hours, it provides an ideal place for homeless people to sleep until the cops come and shoo them away.
On first thought, you may think it’s easy to ignore them. Just close your eyes, listen to your music, or continue reading the newspaper. But pretending that they don’t exist doesn’t make them disappear, especially when they smell that bad on hot summer days.
What am I supposed to do? In their presence, I feel this guilt and it can be quite overwhelming. But I wonder if this feeling is warranted. Would giving them money the best course of action? What if they just use the money to get high or buy liquor? I confess that I’m rather inconsistent in dealing with these folks. Sometimes i give. Sometimes I simply don’t no matter how insistent they become.