I travel a quite a bit in my current job. This means I spend a lot of nights alone in hotels. Tonight was valentine's day and I really would have wanted to spend the night with my GF. But I have an important meeting tomorrow, so it was critical I be there bright and early tomorrow. Which means I had to go tonight.

Since there is nothing decent AND quick to eat around the hotel, I usually go out and have a burger. On my way to the burger joint I spotted a homeless guy. The same homeless guy I usually give my spare change on my last day in town when I am here. A skinny, dirty fellow, obviously a heroin-addict.

I don't give him my money because I condone his heroin abuse. I give him my money because I think it is better than him having to steal it to feed his addiction. Begging in one of the richest countries in the world must be crushingly humiliating. And if he is willing to do that, I'd feel an idiot not to empty my pockets of the spare change I have. I usually give him about $10-20 in coins.

Anyway, it was cold tonight. And since it is the first night of the trip, I have not accumulated any spare change yet. I went to the burger place and ordered two meals. On the way back I walked over to him, sat down, held out the the food and said "you hungry?". He looked up, then slowly reached out and accepted the food with a "thank you".

For a brief moment while walking down the street I felt good.

Then I felt bad about feeling good.

It isn't like I really did anything to help him. I felt bad about not staying there. About not eating with him and perhaps talk a bit.

I think I'll do that tomorrow if he is still there. It'll be late tomorrow with all the work that has been scheduled. But if he's there late tomorrow night I'll bring him coffee and something to eat and have a chat.


Sandy said...

I was waiting for the story to head in the direction of your chatting with him. For some reason, I just pictured you doing that. If you do end up "hanging out" with him, please post about it. I'd love to know what he shares with you.

X said...

I did go to look for him the following day. I even dressed warm so I wouldn't have to get up and leave because of the cold. I scanned the streets - a couple of blocks in each direction of where he usually sits, but he was nowhere to be seen.