About twice a month, sometimes three or four times a month I have to travel to different municipal or state agencies to file things for clients of my company. And now and again I’ll go see a few of clients during the month.
As a result I see quite a bit of the city as I drive around. Probably not nearly as much as some outside sales people but more than your average guy stuck in an office.
So last week I was on my way back from the State Comptroller’s Office and I saw a guy on a corner holding a sign. There are so many people doing this. Unbelievable how many. And it’s sad that in our country people have had to resort to this to stay alive.
But for some I wonder if it really is their last option. I mean there’s a a young guy (mid to late 20’s) near my office who claims on his sign to be a Marine Corps veteran. I don’t know, maybe he is. There is a couple that looks to be in their mid-50’s who wheel their down syndrome daughter out to the side of the road with them asking for money. There is one woman I remember seeing who put on such a display of despair as motorists drove by I felt embarrassed for her because it seemed so fake.
Maybe I’m just too jaded or I don’t know… wary. But these three examples of people begging for subsistence seems like an act. And so last week, when I saw yet another guy, holding a sign, I didn’t think much of it but the light turned red and I had a chance to…
well to pay a little more attention.
I don’t know. Something about his posture. Something about him just made me think twice give in. So I rolled down my window and gave him a few dollars. When he came up to me I said, “hang in there brother. Hang in there.” He said, “I’m trying. I’m giving it all to God. God bless you young man. Thank you so much.”
In our exchange he seemed ashamed and I couldn’t tell if it was sweat or tears that lined his cheeks but I was moved.
I don’t know what his story is. I don’t know if he really is out of work, is mentally disturbed, a scam artist, an artist artist, or Jesus come down to judge us but this song by a local singer/songwrier was playing on my CD player as I sat at the red light and it made the whole scene… the whole interaction so much more real. And I felt sorry for him. And I prayed a little prayer for him. And I had tears in my eyes, perhaps not only for him but myself as well. I am thankful for grace of God, my good fortune and own determination that I am not in his place.
Music by Sara Van Buskirk
Find more of Sara’s music here