Sunday, July 13, 2014


Glen Rock, Pennsylvania

While exiting the parking lot of a grocery store today,
my daughter and I saw a man with a sign
panhandling for money. 
His daughter and wife were sitting 
on the ground near him under the shade of a tree.
They were using the ASL sign for "eat"
(putting their hand to their mouth)
as each car drove by.

I was up next.
I had a just come from the grocery store and
the back of my suburban was full of food.
I certainly could share some food with a hungry family.
I pulled off the driving lane, jumped out of the truck
and asked the man if he needed food.
He nodded his head, so I opened the rear hatch of the Suburban
 and grabbed the first thing I could lay my hands on...
a bag of organic popcorn.
I offered it to the man.
He took the bag from me with his right hand
and held out his left hand while in heavily accented English stated, "Money."
I said, "No.  I will not give you money. 
You said you needed food.  I can give you food."
He replied, "Need money for gas and food."
I said, "No money.  I have food."

At this point it was clear he was not too thrilled 
with my offering of food
(I would have been willing to give him more food besides popcorn,
obviously, but he was so unimpressed with that,
that I was not going to offer anything else.
So, I closed the hatch to my truck and climbed back in the driver seat
while he still stood there repeating, "Money."
I will give him credit, though,
because he did say, "Thank you." as I was driving away.

As I sat at the red light waiting to go on my way,
I observed him in my rear view mirror.
He tossed the bag of popcorn to his wife,
who then threw it aside carelessly as if it were nothing. 
They clearly were not starving.
The mother, daughter, and father all started to laugh.
I admit, I have no idea what they were laughing about,
but it certainly didn't make me feel very good.
It felt like a kick in the stomach.

So, tonight I am thankful that my situation in life
offers me abundance in all of the basic needs of my family 
in such a way that we can also offer help to those who need it...
even if they are just scam artists.

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