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They Have Something to Lose

“Click!” “Click!”

The car doors lock, and I reach to lower the window but hesitate for a brief second. Then I lowered my window to address the homeless man approaching my window. He mutters something to me, but I could not hear his voice over the rush of cars passing by the freeway. It was 1:30 in the morning and I had just dropped off my friend after a Christmas party. “Do you have any spare change?” he yells. “No, I only carry a card,” I responded. He pauses and then asks me to show him and then I did not want to help him anymore. Who was he to ask for proof when he is the one asking me for the money that I have earned? The lights turned green and I sped off. From then on I never made eye contact or gave change to anyone on the side of the freeway ram because to me they were just people that were dead beats and wanted to leech off of the money I earned. I pondered to myself “Why give them money in which they could use to buy alcohol and diminish their health, they have nothing to lose.”

In my Buddhist youth group, they teach us not to give money because money can be used to buy drugs, buy alcohol, and it makes them more dependent on others for food, like bears depending on trashcans for food instead of hunting in their natural habitat, or wolves kept in captivity for such an extended amount of time that they cannot fend for themselves if they were released back in the while since they relied on humans for their whole lives. The leader taught us to buy food for them or give them what little food you have because giving food will not harm them physically but it will make them dependent on others and that is bad, so I always try avoiding hobos. Giving food does not solve anything but only temporarily improves their situation and gives them another day to maybe change their lives around. There is no right or wrong when you chose to give, or not to give to a hobo. Never a right or wrong.

A few months after my encounter with the homeless alongside the freeway, my cousin and I were at Wal-Mart and drove pass a homeless man with his two children. I thought maybe he was just using them to exploit the kindness of people, but then I wondered “Who would do that to their own children?” I then made up my mind that homeless people DID have something to lose and I could not just judge them off of one bad experience. I went to McDonald and bought six hot n’ spices and then three Gatorades from Wal-Mart and strode over to the homeless man and his children; I sent a text to my cousin to let her know where I was and what I was doing, just in case anything happened. At first I walked half way and then turned around, but I was determined to help this poor man and his children. After I delivered the supplies to them, they thanked me and the children gave me a hug. I began to help out the homeless in any way I could because they had something to lose, even if it was not significant, they might have something to lose. The little possessions that they own may not seem significant to another but in reality it is important to them.

I started participating in community service such as gardening for the homeless and buying food for the less fortunate whenever I can. I have become a better person from my experience and have decided to help in all kinds of different methods. I always feel disappointed looking back on my experience and hated myself for being ignorant and naïve. I began to make amends for my mistakes and will continue to till I change someone in need’s life. When I grow up I would like to help a homeless person flip their life upside down with opportunities to get an education, shelter, and help they earn a GED; I look forward to seeing the gratitude in their faces as I do so.



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