It’s always been hard for me to walk by homeless people and not feel bad. Over the years, I’ve come to refine my personality antennae, so I can kinda feel out who the truly needy ones are and which ones are scamming. All through my life, I’ve heard most people say stuff like, “Don’t give them money, they just go buy beer with it!”
This week, I found out that isn’t always so. I was in Starbucks, casually waiting for my “Triple Breve Latte Hot With a Shot of Sugar Free Vanilla, Whipped” to finish being made. The place was packed with business people, all waiting for their own funky coffee concoctions. Christmas music was chiming and the staff was extremely chipper.
I noticed a horrible smell pass under my nose. I looked around to see a homeless dude had just walked in. He had his blanket and looked like he had just woke up from a long night at the bus terminal.
Everyone stared at him in disgust. How dare he intrude on their yummy coffee-scented breathing space with the smell of underarms and pee? He got in line. People began looking at the help staff to shoo him outta there. He finally got up to the cashier. The cashier, who had been smiling and winking only a few moments earlier, gave him the evil eye and said, “WHAT do you want.”
The man pulled out a dollar and pointed to a donut in the case.
I’ll take that one, please”, he said. The barrista completed the transaction. The guy walked out, ate his donut and tossed the bag and napkin in the trash and went about his way.
I figured someone had just given him that dollar and that particular Starbucks was the closest place to grab something cheap to eat. I finally got my complex drink and peeked my head out of the door to look for him. I wanted to give him another dollar. He was gone.