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Yesterday we were riding a 1 at my house. It was nearly 11:30 and I thought I should eat something more because it was so cold out. I was out with Bromont and he wanted to stop at McDonalds. We have a deal. He always gets a treat. So, I stopped just before the 11:30 breakfast cutoff. I ordered a Big Breakfast with Hotcakes. That is the best deal with Bromont getting the sausage and hashbrowns.

There was this guy sitting there, looking like he was just getting out of the cold. He didn’t look that homeless, but he had the layered look going and was just drinking water. After getting my food, I thought that I should offer him the extra stuff I wasn’t going to eat. (I did that when I roofing last year a couple times.) I just wanted the hotcakes and eggs. But, I had a quandary. Bromont was supposed to get the extra stuff. And I couldn’t tell for certain that the guy was homeless. I felt weird that I was going to embarrass him by offering. (There are lots of times in my life, if you were just judging by my dress, I could be mistaken for homeless.) Anyway, while I was going through the pros and cons in my mind, the guy walked out. It made me feel bad.

So, I sat there and ate and thought about why people are sometimes so harsh to others less fortunate. I couldn’t come to grips with why I felt I should give my dog, who had already had breakfast, a treat, and not offer food to another person who looked like he needed it. It seems just wrong.

I witnessed the same thing a while back in Las Vegas. There was a guy panhandling on a pedestrian bridge on the Strip. He looked pretty down and out, but he had a really nice looking, well kept dog with him. I observed him for 10 minutes or so. He was making a fortune. I’d guess he made $50 in that time. And most of the people that gave money were women. And the majority of them said something about giving the dog food, etc. If the time I watched was any indicator, he was living in the Trump Condos and dressing down for his “day job”. The key was the dog and how clean and happy it looked. If that guy would have been there on his own, he would have gotten 10% of the money he was with the dog.

Anyway, I had put the sausage with the hashbrowns and was leaving when the guy walked back in. I thought I should offer him some food. It seemed too belittling offering him what I had in my hand, so I decided to just ask him if I could buy him something. He said he’d appreciate it. So, we went to the counter and he ordered two McDoubles off the one dollar menu. I said he should get something else, coffee, pies,ect. He said that was enough and it was the best bang for the buck. So, I paid the $2.19 and told him to have a good day.

The guy was really well spoken and polite. He obviously had some issues, but don’t we all. I felt a little better about myself, but still don’t understand people and how they are wired.

12 thoughts on “People

  1. Scott Anderson

    I think buying food for people is much better than giving money. I used to carry food in my car in Albuquerque. We had quite a few homeless in Albuquerque, the local TV station did a story on one man who panhandled at an interstate exit and was supposedly making 50k a year and actually had a home, rather disingenuous.

    In Sacramento I have given away extra energy bars when riding through downtown.

  2. j

    There is a guy that I generally see at Borders in OP at 91st, although on occasion have seen him elsewhere including Lawrence. Always the same shirt, sweat pants, full beard and a backpack.
    One particular night the wife and I were arguing about money, while ironically drinking our overpriced Seattle’s Best, and there he was. I went outside and he followed shortly after… I asked him as he passed by if there was anything I could do for him, and his response was “what can you do for me” I offered again, and he seemed to tone down and said he was fine. I have seen him many times since that night and to this day wonder what his story is. One of these days I need to just sit down and see what he has to say.

  3. drew holbrook

    I have talked to some of the “sign guys” they do work it and sometimes work in shifts. Also fight for the best corners. Yes they can make some money which maybe is enough for a bottle or a hit or whatever to get through the day. Alcoholism/addiction layered with multiple mental illnesses most of these guys could not rub two nickels together day in day out.
    so the question is do you propagate the disease by giving them cash? maybe. Some of these folks are so ravaged they cannot eat solid food and the booze is their medicine . Winos are called winos because their bodies can no longer tolerate hard liquor and actually become allergic to the very thing they crave.
    enough soap box,
    good job Steve !!!!

  4. JM

    You are just the nicest guy in the world. Your blog is the only one I actually look forward to reading every day, if not even more often than that.

  5. h luce

    the guys who fly signs and spange people are usually looking for money to buy beer or whiskey; if they’re younger and wearing brown grungy carhartts or black clothing, usually pretty dirty, they may be traveller kids or oogles (see A lot of them travel by train, just not by Amtrak… They usually get their food out of dumpsters behind supermarkets and restaurants – there’s an amazing amount of good stuff which gets thrown out every day, one houseful (squat) of traveller kids managed to survive three years on dumpstered food and commodities – and one time, they managed to score six six-packs of beer, five bottles of wine and a whole bunch of liquor from a fancy wedding where all this stuff got tossed…

  6. Tim

    I’ve always felt that I would rather be taken advantage of then not do anything at all. Thanks for the post Steve.

  7. WildCat

    When my brother worked for a certain internet TV company in Denver they did a thing called Homeless Real World and followed a group of homeless people around for a while. The common theme with these people is that (for the most part) they are extremely lazy and do not want to be held to any kind of routine or schedule or fill any niche to be a contributing member of society. Don’t get me wrong. It usually starts with just “being down on luck”, but then they make friends out on the streets and learn way they can make it from day to day fairly easily. Then, they are simply “homeless” and find it easier to be this way then to conform into society. I find it extremely hard not to feel bad for these folks, but if you asked them about it I bet almost 100% of them would say that we should not feel bad for them. Why? Because the “homeless” life is the life (again, for the most part) they are choosing to live.

  8. Greg

    I was driving on the other side of the Plaza the other day eating some chocolate chips my wife made for me. When I had to stop at the stop light. There was a guy there looking for handouts. I thought that he would like some of these cookies so I yelled him over and asked if he wanted some chocolate chips. He said wow that would be great. He took them with a big smile and his face and said “Thanks Dude”. It sure made me feel good and who doesn’t like cc cookies.


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