Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 103: Had A Conversation With A Homeless Person

As I have said in a previous post, Chicago, per capita, has one of the highest homeless populations in the United States. A day doesn't go by where I am walking around the city and don't see at least 5 people asking for change, food, etc. I wish I had won the Mega Millions so that I could go around and take care of each person I met. It saddens me to see how many people walk by and disregard the homeless both here and in other cities. Every single day they are treated like they aren't even human, when in reality they are the same as everyone else. Unfortunately, due to a loss of work, mental sickness, dependence issues or many other reasons, they haven't been able to "make it." One of the homeless men I gave a care package to said even a small "hello" from a stranger sometimes helps him get through the day. Since then, I always make it a point to smile, head nod or in some way acknowledge each homeless person I see. I really feel as though I could be doing more though and that brings me to today's random act. Today, as I walk around my territory for work, I am going to make it a point to have a conversation with a homeless person. Whether it is general chit chat or the story of how they got in this position, I want them to know that there are people out there who don't look down upon them. All I ask of the people who read this blog is to just be more cognizant of the impact that both positive and negative gestures can have on others, and to know that even just a smile and "hello" can go a very long way.

8 comments:

  1. I was always told growing up that I should ignore the panhandlers because they're just dirty people and they're all dangerous.

    What I've come to discover through my own daily giving challenge is that they are human, just like me. Yes, one has to keep one's own safety in mind, but a kind word and a McDonald's gift card are a good way, as you say, to help someone get through a day on the streets.

    Eric

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  2. i love this random act and also feel that instead of or as well as giving my spare change to a homeless person I could do a lot more and vow to do that from now on.

    You are such an inspiration!

    Keep up the good work.

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  3. I am going to Chicago this weekend and was already thinking about this very subject. I myself find it very hard to make eye contact with each person in this situation because almost all of them are asking for money. If I smile and continue on, it's as if I'm acknowledging their presence but completely ignoring the fact that they just asked me a question. (but let's face it, most of us don't keep enough spare cash in our pocket to hand even a $1 bill to each person who asks us for money) It always weighs heavily on my heart when I am in the city. I am going to try to do a better job of dealing with this over the weekend, though.....you are so inspirational!

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  4. From the beginning rich people have been forced to live and walk around with the poor, their children and grandchildren have been forced to grow up in poverty stricken cities.. That to me only shows how "poor" the wealthy really are.

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  5. The other day on my way to the chinese place I walked past a man who was screaming for food at every person who passed. On impulse, and because of inspiration from you, I bought him dinner and handed it to him on my way back home. Thanks for being an inspiration to all!

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  6. I often think of the homeless, or less fortunate people you see at expressway ramps, stop lights with homemade signs. It's easy to be cynical, thinking they would use the money for liquor, or waste it some other way, or even thinking that they really aren't homeless or needy. How can those who are really in need expect people to look past those cynical thoughts? When I took a Major American Authors class at DePaul, we were discussing Grapes of Wrath, and my professor compared the migration of the Okies to California to the homeless people we see today - they didn't know if they would get what they needed, they didn't know who would help them, but somehow they had faith that somebody would. And so day after day, as people pass them by, as people don't help, they wait for those who will help. They are willing to stand out there, willing to take the looks and cynicism because there ARE people who will help. You are one of those people, one of those that the homeless and destitute can have faith in.

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  7. Your endeavors never fail to impress.

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  8. You're absolutely right. This blog has inspired me to be more cognizant of the homeless people in the streets of Paris.

    Cathy Trails

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