Have you ever given money to a stranger, bum, derelict or poor person...

@filmbuff (2909)
United States
June 21, 2007 4:41pm CST
that you just happened upon in the street or in a store or other public place? (How's that for a run-on sentence?) Once on thanksgiving I was with a friend going to the market where there was a bum hanging out. On my way out of the store, I handed him a $20 bill, wished him a Happy Thanksgiving and went about my business. As we were driving off my friend pointed out that the bum lives there and gets money from people all the time. That he was a alcoholic and that I didn't do him any favors. --Flash forward a few years.--- Strangely enough it is again Thanksgiving day. I'm at a supermarket with my live-in girlfriend picking up some last minute things for dinner at my parents house. In the checkout infront of us is a lone, very sad looking woman. She has a single "pot pie" she is trying to pay for (obviously her, or her childs thanksgiving meal) but she doesn't have enough money. We're talking like $1.19 with tax. Again I broke out the wallet handed her a $20 and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving. She was so happy she was in tears while thanking me profusely. She stopped to ask if she had to buy the pot pie or could get something else? I told her it was her money and she could do what she wanted with it. She went back into the store to go get some real food I suspect. I'm not trying to get any praise here or anything just illustrate a point. I've never actually mentioned these two instances to anyone before. My questions are these: Have you ever helped out a stranger like that before? Do you think it is/was the right thing to do? In the first case I think it was probably a mistake. But hey I was giving the guy the benefit of the doubt. If I were feeding his disease, I wasn't doing him any favors. With the second case though, I think I really made her and possibly her children's day. If nothing else I know she had a good meal or 2. What are you thoughts? Minnie Mouse is HOT! filmbuff
4 people like this
15 responses
• United States
21 Jun 07
It must be getting close to "that" time of the month because that brought tears to my eyes in the reading. You know I have, given money like that to people on the streets, and have gotten the same reaction from my husband as you did from your friend. I am especially bad about it over the holidays myself. The thing is yes maybe he is a drunk, but maybe he needs a meal also. I even once took off my coat on the way out of a department store in Nashville because a lady was freezing sitting on the corner. I had four coats at home, I was not going to miss one. I give a lot of food to our food bank here in our small town, although you don't find many homeless, there are poor folks that needs the extra help. I am with you on this one its not something I talk about.
3 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
21 Jun 07
I must admit that I do talk about it when I do such things, but usually only to people who have more than I do and still say they can't afford to give. Sort of "If I can, you can!"
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
21 Jun 07
Aww Angelwhispers, that was the same reaction my girlfriend at the time had. You're right though, so what if he's a bum, or a drunk? He is still a person, he still needs to eat. It was thanksgiving after all. Even if he went and bought $20 worth of hooch I bet that made him happy and thankfull if only for a little while...the upside is that he may actually have used it for good. That was really nice of you about the coat. I usually wear a leather one and I'm not quite that generous... I really don't like to talk about it either it almost cheapens the whole thing, like what I did was not out of generousity, but rather to get accolades or something. That being said, it's a good topic and people should be aware that there are a lot of poor and needy people right here at home who need help everyday. Hehe Lecanis, guilt them into giving. :) If it works, go with it. Way to go. :) :)
2 people like this
@HighReed1 (1126)
• United States
21 Jun 07
I don't give money to anyone. If I see a homeless person, I give them food. I usually have some little pack or tin of something in my truck that is easy to open and doesn't need to be heated. If I am leaving the house on a big holiday (like Thanksgiving) I make a little bag with extra food in it. I used to live in an area that had lots of homeless on our street. We would just pull over next to them and give them the bag. I haven't ran into a homeless person that turned down the food, but I've heard about them. If they are just after money, then they can get a job. If they are REALLY hungry, they will take the food and I know they will have had at least one decent meal that day. If I see someone with kids running back and forth I try to give enough so everyone can eat.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Jun 07
You know what Highreed that is a good idea, one I have never thought of, I think my next trip into Nashville I will do this very thing. God knows it would make my husband happier.
3 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
21 Jun 07
That is a fantastic idea HighReed1. It never occured to me to carry food like that, or to plan to some for just those occasions. Very good thinking, since you know they are going to get something to eat and not money that may tempt them. Thanks for sharing.
2 people like this
@HighReed1 (1126)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I'm glad to contribute a good idea! I also had some extra gloves in the truck with me. One morning it was REAL cold. I passed a homeless guy on the corner with hands that were almost blue. I gave him a pair of gloves instead. He was SO glad to get them! I don't have a problem helping people who are down on their luck.
2 people like this
@Sir_bobby88 (8244)
• Singapore
24 Jun 07
Well normally i would donate $2 to charity yea .... but indivual to a person yea
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
25 Jun 07
It's nice to see people who are willing to give. Thanks for posting Sir_bobby88.
@Tanya8 (1734)
• Canada
22 Jun 07
"I also sort of feel that placing my trust in him and giving him some responsibility is a help of the non-monetary kind." I agree with this statement. I used to work as an employment counselor in an agency that helped homeless people, and I think the "don't spend this on booze" lecture that accompanies the giving of money makes people feel like garbage and isn't very helpful. Treating someone like a child, doesn't do anything to empower them to change their situation (if, in fact, it can be changed). I do think treating someone with respect when you give change (or even looking them in the eye and saying "sorry you can't help") is more productive. The people I worked with would often talk about the few people who made them feel like they were still human when they were on the street, and how it gave them a boost of encouragement. I used to find clients for the program, by walking around the street and chatting with anyone asking for change. Unfortunately there are so many homeless people in my city now, I don't think it's feasible to have a conversation with everyone I pass, but when I have time, I do stop to talk and usually end up referring them to an agency that can help them. I think ultimately it's more helpful to donate my money directly to agencies (the good ones, since not all are well run), and to assist with their campaigns to stay open, since it seems like the government is constantly reducing their funding.
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
23 Jun 07
I agree they are defenitly people and derseve to be treated as such. I'm not one for the speeches either. Receiving money (whether they asked for it not) can be a help, but it can also be demeaning. I don't know who they are or their circumstances, I'm not going to judge them, but rather try to help. It's interesting that in both cases I just felt and overwhelming urge to help and give them money. I do believe in fate and destiny. Perhaps I was meant to... that I was supposed to be there to offer aid at that time. I don't want to suggest that the divine is working through me, but that is a possibility. Regardless (I'm off on a tangent) helping them just seemed like the right thing to do. Although I think your idea of giving directly to good organizations is probably a better way to go in most cases. There are some (myself included) who are just too prideful to ask for help. I'd rather go hungry than ask for a handout.
2 people like this
@KaseyLah (142)
• Canada
22 Jun 07
I once gave 10 dollars to a "bum" in vietnam when i was visiting. I felt really good! haha, it was my own money too! i have a friend whos a bum but i just tease her because she has a crap binder lol well yeah. i think giving anything to "bums" makes you feel good! even if its just a nickle. YOU FEELLL GOOOOD
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
23 Jun 07
Yeah giving to the needy does make you feel good, hopefully it does them some good as well which I think is more important. Thanks for sharing KaseyLah.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 07
I always believe in the whole give back what you get type of thing everytime I get some money I always give it back too anyone that ask me
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
23 Jun 07
That's a great way to be. Karma is good. Take a little, give back a little.
1 person likes this
@yuanchang (475)
• Philippines
22 Jun 07
it's so sad that people beg for a living. they take advantage of your generosity. they just beg because they're too lazy to look for a job. if they'll just try and try to look for a job somewhere then it will be better for them. that's my point of view of beggars because imagine if you gave him/her $20 then there's a possibility that you're just 1 out of 10 persons who gave him/her of that amount. i accidentally heard a blind beggar complaining he had not earned his quota for the day when in fact the amount he mentioned is higher than that of a minimum wage worker. well for other instances, like your thanksgiving incident, there's an exception. your just being a good samaritan.
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
22 Jun 07
You make a good point about the professional beggars who make a good living preying on the kindness of others. I tend to *not* want to help them because they could spend that time looking for real work instead of asking for handouts. When I see someone who is need though, it's a different story. I'll try to help if I can. Thanks for posting yuanchang.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 07
i give all the time because,you never know what or who you are saying no to. i look at life like that could be me.if you took your experience with the man and said i am not giving any money to anyone else you would have missed out on feeling so good by helping that woman in the store and i am sure you was blessed for your kindness
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I agree poetshannon. I could very well be one of people, especially the way that things are going lately. I would like to think that someone else would help me out if I'm in that situation one day. Giving is it's own reward, but what goes around, comes around too.
1 person likes this
@bigv4eva (36)
• United States
22 Jun 07
Yes I have and it gives you a good feeling that you can give to someone. It makes it feel wonderful when you have the ability to put a smile on someones face.
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
22 Jun 07
Agreed. It does make you feel really to good to someone else out when you are able.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 07
I used to give to strangers but I got tired of seeing them head to the liquer store.now I help out by giving to charities but only those that get people to help themselves. I believe in that phrase"Give a man a fish,he eats for today,teach him to fish and he will eat the rest of his life".
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
22 Jun 07
That is a great quote 66jerseygirl. Giving food and clothes is probably the best way to go, for me though I almost never think of doing that as I tend to want to help on the spur of the moment and cash is more convienient for me at the time.
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@Polukinha (150)
• Brazil
21 Jun 07
hauha yeaah minnie mouse is hot
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
22 Jun 07
I agree about Minnie, totally.
1 person likes this
@rdougl (469)
• United States
21 Jun 07
I've given and turned them away. I wish I could be certain that they weren't going to smoke or shoot it up. I've given food also which seems to be the best way to go about it. But even still, some will get upset with you if you don't give them cash.
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
21 Jun 07
I guess a lot of it depends on the situation and you're right there are no guarantee's about what they will do with the money. But at least we tried, food though is a great idea and much safer like as pointed out.
1 person likes this
@Amstardam (1348)
• United States
21 Jun 07
I think it totally depends on the situation. We always run into homeless people in Seattle. Every corner, there is someone begging for money. My husband and I usually don't give handouts. Occasionally we'll be standing outside in line for a concert and a homeless person will walk up and ask our permission for them to sing us a song or tell us a poem. We sometimes agree depending on the attitude of the person. After they sing or give us a poem we will usually give them a few dollars. Sometimes I'll go buy a cup of coffee and give it to them, especially if it's cold outside. Or I'll buy some food and bring it to them. I'm not really too keen on giving money because who knows what it will be used for. I actually bought coffee for someone who looked familiar to me and it ended up that we worked together a couple years back. You'll never know who you will run into on the streets.
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
21 Jun 07
That is another great idea, of getting them food or coffee instead of handing them money directly. It's sad though that there are so many homeless in Seattle. Is there a specific reason for that? I think the saying goes that most people are 2-3 paychecks from being homeless. It can happen to almost anyone. ;(
1 person likes this
@ctrymuziklvr (11059)
• United States
21 Jun 07
Cash money - Money for the homeless
There was a time when I wouldn't give street people money and I feel bad that I was ever like that. Ever since I was homeless a few years ago and know what they are going through I never say no to them and have given a street person my last dollar. I've even gone into a coffee shop and bought them a coffee and something to eat if I thought they might spend it in a bar.
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
21 Jun 07
I've never been homeless, but I've been close. I do know what's it like to be down on your luck with little to no money. I generally try to help out when I can too. It's not only the right thing to do in many cases but a karmic one as well. Thanks for commenting ctrymuziklvr.
1 person likes this
@smacksman (6074)
21 Jun 07
I was asked for some money the other month by a lady while we waited for a train in London. I gave her £2 ($4) for something to eat and then she asked if I would like to take her somewhere for a good time! I nearly fell of my seat! I am a country bumkin after all! I said it was very sweet of her to offer and I was sure it would indeed be fun but unfortunatly I was catching a train in 10 minutes! We continued to sit and chat till my train arrived. Such is life in the big city!
2 people like this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
21 Jun 07
You handled the situation very diplomatically smacksman. Makes you wonder if that's all she had to offer and was just trying to recipricate the only way she could. It was very nice of you at any rate.
1 person likes this