I'm breaking the cardinal rule of my blog: telling a not so happy story.
So I went out to eat tonight with a friend from Florida, Josiah. We got a bunch of the Snack Hour specials at Uno Chicago Grill, but he had to rush back to work so we didn't get to eat all of the food we ordered. Well, since he's only here for work and is staying in a hotel he couldn't take any food with him, so I got to take all the leftovers home! :) So I walked my mile home through downtown with my two Styrofoam containers, excited about tomorrows lunch and dinner menus.
Well on my way home I saw a homeless man. Wanting to avoid the awkwardness I tried to cross the street before I got to him, but there was traffic and before I could cross he spotted me and implored, "Can you spare some food?! Can you spare some food?!"
"Of course I can," I responded without thought and then selected one of the containers for him and continued on my merry way.
Normally I would feel good about helping out a homeless person, instead of just lying and saying that I don't have any change, but about a half block away I realized that I should have given him both of them! That was the most selfish thing ever. He doesn't know when his next meal will be and I kept one for lunch tomorrow! I mean, my milk is sour and I've had leftover enchiladas for the past four days, but I at least have a stable food supply. Andrew tried to make me feel better by explaining that I was helping to sustain him and that he didn't need to gorge himself or keep meat overnight, but I just feel awful.
I was thinking that since I live in an urban area I could give a homeless person a granola bar or snack pack from my lunch (you know, in the carpet bag purse). I'd rather give a homeless person food instead of money. Don't worry though, I've got this city-gig under control. I'm not gonna feed them daily. The number one rule: Never stop walking. Just hand off and keep moving. Kind, but not making yourself vulnerable, hence why being prepared is best. If you're prepared it's safer that way--no stopping and shuffling through wallets, purses, etc. for money. Safety first!
The irony of it all was that as I boxed up my food, Josiah said, "Do you want this chicken quesadilla? I didn't even touch it?" I responded, "Sure! That will be great to take to work tomorrow for lunch." Then I jokingly added, "What if I have to give this great food away to a homeless person and never get to enjoy it?!" I said it all in complete jest since I've never encountered that situation before, but I think it really helped me to be mentally prepared. I would have been totally caught off guard. But now I'm thinking, what are the odds that I was walking home with two take-out containers of leftovers? I could easily have grabbed some food for dinner on my way home to eat at my apartment. That would have been a bigger test. Then what would I do? Give away my dinner and scrap something together or keep walking?