Tuesday, September 8, 2009
To Moralize Or Not To Moralize
So, I run to '7-11' today and outside are not one but TWO homeless people.
One asked if I could spare a dollar. He was very specific--'A DOLLAR'--instead of the usual; 'Do you have any spare change I could have?'.
The other homeless man did not ask for anything nor even look my way.
The one that did was clean, shaved and didn't appear to be dirty.
The other man--the one who didn't approach me--was just the opposite: scruffy beard, dirty body and clothes.
With money being so tight on my end, I hesitated to even acknowledge the man who asked but I simply replied; "I'll catch you on my way out".
I thought about complaining to the sales girl--how nice it would be to walk into any store these days and not be 'accosted'--but I held my tongue.
Next to the cash register was cooked hot dogs for sale; two for $2.22.
I could have just given each of the men a dollar, saved the twenty two cents, and be on my way. But then those age old questions comes into play--at least in my head;
"How responsible is it to give a homeless person money?"
"What will they do with it--drugs? Alcohol? Cigarettes?"
So, I bought them both a hot dog and in each of the cardboard containers the hot dogs came in I placed a packet of ketchup, mayo, relish, mustard and a napkin. I even thought about chips and a drink but...well, money and all--plus the moral dilemma swimming around in my head...
So, I gave them each their hot dog.
Both said 'thank you' and the one who didn't ask for anything even offered up a 'Have a good day'.
I wondered at the oddness of it all on my way home and also wildly wondered if I was perhaps part of an experiment; "The seemingly better dressed--and cleaner--of the two asks the customers for money (a specific amount, no less)...what will be the result? How will the customers react? What about the other man? Will he be acknowledged and rewarded? Or will he be 'punished' for being quiet and not asking? "No food for you 'cause you didn't ask--just as well, saved me a buck..."
Was the one who approached me even homeless? Or just testing society?
The extra twenty two cents was a cheap price to pay for my peace of mind.
Then again, is it my place to moralize??? I figure, well, it's my money so, honestly my answer is yes.
What's your thoughts? What would you have done?