My 50 Cents
How’s your generosity meter? Do you give to the less fortunate? And while I’m at it, do you even go the extra mile to open your wallet until it hurts? It’s an irony that our generosity is most often extended more to those who need it less.
It was past noon on a Saturday. I was walking around the neighborhood when suddenly a brand new SUV stopped me on my tracks. The driver opened the window and waved at me. He was in his mid-forties wearing a baseball cap and a goatee. I thought he was lost. When I approached the vehicle, however, he didn’t ask for direction. Instead, he pointed to the boy sitting in the front seat and said, “Give the kid 50 cents. he wants to buy soda.” Meekly, I dug for the change in my pocket. After giving him the money, he smiled and told me to get out of there and closed the window.
As he was leaving me in the dust, I realized that I had been had. Under normal circumstances, I’d never give in so easily. I’d brush it aside as I have done so many times with panhandlers in the past. But this time, my defense system was down. It was totally caught by surprise and didn’t react to the situation as it should. Somehow, it wasn’t programmed to equate somebody driving a new SUV with panhandling. Perhaps, it didn’t also help that I was wearing a t-shirt with the bald eagle and American flag design and the words “Peace America” on it.
If there’s any consolation, I just hope that the kid got the soda that he was craving for at my expense and that I learned something from this episode. That is, if I can afford to give 50 cents to somebody driving a late model SUV, I should be able to give a dollar to the homeless and panhandlers, who, in the final analysis, are more deserving. After all, they are humans, too.