Traffic for 2011 December 6 (entry 0)

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[Comments] (5) a funny thing happened on the way to the house: The auspicious Ernst & Young Salt Lake City office is located conveniently across the street from the homeless shelter. Today someone followed me to my car, began crying about how he fell asleep at the bus station waiting for a ride home to Dallas and how his bag got stolen. The police wouldn't give him money; Temple Square wouldn't give him money, and he just wanted to go home and needed $13.87 plus would like some food. I gave him a $20 (which I try to keep in my car for emergencies) and he was floored. He thanked me, asked if he could give me a hug, then did so before I could object, told me I'm generous and good looking (I had a hunch he might be playing for the other team) and went on his way.

I'm going to start keeping that $20 in smaller bills going forward. Did I do the wrong thing?

I'm not interested in what Jesus would do. The older I get, and the more I study his life, the LESS I pretend to know about what Jesus would do. So while the Democrats and the Republicans fight about whether or not Jesus was occupy Wall St (I vote yay but what do I know), I don't pretend to know if Jesus would give a potential loser means to further perpetuate his loser-ness.

I do feel good about it. I can't possibly judge the intentions of everyone, and I really was not in the mood to let him in my car, driver him to Wendy's and then the train station to purchase him the required meal and ticket to Dallas, and, while time is money, it was easier to give him $20. But next time, I'm going to be more firm about the hug thing.


Posted by Rachel at Wed Dec 07 2011 04:51

You are generous and good looking! I always go with my instinct on this kind of thing. You can't be responsible for other people's actions, only your own, so if you felt that you should have given him the money than you did the right thing by doing so, regardless of what he does with it. The world could use more people like you.

Posted by John at Wed Dec 07 2011 09:33

Aw, Rachel, you are too kind. I try not to be one of those people that says you shouldn't give because they'll just spend it on wine, women, and salt. But. What if he does spend it on that? Does that make me an enabler? That's where I get my grief. But I prayed last night that he would do good things with the money and get home to Dallas safely.

Posted by Mom at Wed Dec 07 2011 15:10

I have had similar experiences. Like Rachel I try to go by gut instinct. Those that work with the homeless would tell you not to give because lots of them do this as their way to make money and some make more in a year than I do. I would not want to park where you do. He probably pegged a nice car and waited for you. $20 was better than the ride where who knows what would happen next. He also knows that you keep $$ in your car. That might be an invitation for a break-in. Better get a parking pass in the garage, it might be well worth the money.

Posted by John at Wed Dec 07 2011 15:37

I only go to the office 1-2 days a week. I either work at home or work in LA these days. So I'm not too worried about him watching my car. Plus when I do go to SLC I go in so early that I get a good parking spot and can watch my car from my window office, which I do every hour. But it's a good point to consider.

Posted by Susie at Fri Dec 09 2011 18:04

I agree with Rachel. You aren't responsible for his actions with the money, but you are responsible for your decision to give, which was a generous one. And you're not an enabler either way.


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