Today I was reminded of how important it is to help someone when they are in need. When walking in the East Village over lunch, my friend and I passed a young male. He had to have been high school age, which made me wonder why he wasn’t in school. I saw him ask the girl in front of us for something, and my initial instinct was to not make eye contact. It’s a horrible thought, but I will absolutely admit it. How many times have each one of us thought the exact same thing? It’s easier to not get involved, or if they ask for money, who knows what they will use it for?
As I think about it, the reality is, who really cares? If someone needs help, I want to help and don’t want to think twice about doing it. Today was a reminder of why it is so important to help and go with your gut when you get the chance.
As we walked past, he softly asked if we had anything to eat and said he didn’t want any money — just food. My friend realized she had her chips still from lunch and handed them over. I took one step forward and instantly knew I couldn’t just walk away without helping. I grabbed some cash from my purse and told him to get something at Jimmy John’s. As I handed him the money, he started to cry and looked at me with a little shred of hope that someone was willing to help him. When we walked past again, he was throwing away his container in the trash from finally getting something to eat.
When I lived in Chicago, you saw poverty and hunger on almost every street corner. In Des Moines, it tends to be a little more hidden, so it’s easier to forget there are people who don’t have enough to eat every day. I’ve always had a heart for the hungry, and I am glad that I listened to my heart today.
I don’t know this boy’s story nor do I need to. All I know is he needed help, and I had the means to provide it. Something so simple, and I sure didn’t need that $6.
Help where you can friends; you never know whose day or life you may change.