What Would You Do?

A few minutes ago a man approached me in a city street. He secured eye contact, moved in close,  closer, a craft securing its mooring.

I’m on the streets.

A lined face, folds of loose dark skin, lightly whiskered, serious. I recognised the approach; he’d be after money. I felt in my pocket for the two dollar coin, a lazy two dollars.

I’m looking for money for a room for the night. I need forty nine dollars.

This was something new. The quantum, specified. It rang true.

We held each other’s gaze. The man neither shrank nor dramatised himself. He added, The room is booked. I need to find the money, and something for a feed, some laundry…

After a pause I asked – unaccountably – How much is the room?

Eighty-nine dollars. I’ve got the rest.

Two dollars felt too lazy. I found a large note, handed it over.

The man looked at the note: God bless you, mate.

6 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. It doesn’t matter what I think! it’s what you thought at the time beautiful human, Howard Goldenberg! You are blessed! by me! another human, and I’m real.

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  2. 2 dollars isn’t lazy! A few years back I was ferrying my daughter to tennis tournaments around the state. This particular morning we were in the south east suburb of Doveton. A thin 20-something woman approached me at a small suburban shppping strip and asked me if I could spare a dollar? She had a black eye behlnd her spectacles. I promptly replied “here, have 2” (dollars). Her face lit up and I walked away feeling empowered that I had exceeded her sxpectations. It was Good Friday making it more memorable.

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  3. I disagree, respectfully. 2 dollars is lazy. It is not that 2 dollars cannot be meaningful to someone in real need but for a middle class person in a wealthy country it is a rounding error. The request from someone reduced to begging for 1 dollar does not reflect the superior purchasing power of 1 dollar in some parallel economy occupied by the homeless but is a strategy born out of experience – we, the wealthy, give 1-2 dollars because it is easy , lazy, as it doesnt matter to us financially. But enough 1-2 dollar donations can make a difference.

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