There’s a guy in a wheelchair who hangs out in front of New Seasons, begging for a living. He’s there every day, and I think things may be going better for him. He has new glasses and he’s pretty cleaned up and generally looking healthier than before and he has a little dog now. It’s a really cute little dog.
Every time I go there, he asks me for money on my way out. It’s really bumming me out. The thing is, I don’t give money to individuals begging on the streets. I just don’t do it. I don’t think it’s helpful, and I choose to give to my church and to IOCC, an Orthodox charity which happens to have a very high rating in terms of the lowest overhead for charities.
So every time I go shopping, I’m placed in the awkward position of having to say “no” to someone. Every single time. I really don’t like to say “no” to people. I like to say “yes.”
So here it is, my imaginary conversation with this wheelchair-bound beggar:
“Hi there, I couldn’t help but notice that every time I shop here at New Seasons, you ask me if I can give you some money. And maybe you have noticed that I always say no.
So look, here’s the deal. I’m always going to say no, because I don’t give money to individuals, but rather, to charitable organizations. However, I always feel uncomfortable saying no to you, and I don’t want to do that thing where I have to walk in another direction just to avoid you. So, this is what I propose: when you see me, instead of asking me if I have any spare change, you say, “hi, how you doing today?” and I say, “great, how about you?” and we have a pleasant little conversation. What do you think?”
I told my friend, Lisa, about this guy and my imaginary conversation, and she said, “oh my God, that is just so you – ‘o.k. look, here’s the deal.'”
And now you know why that’s the name of my blog.