Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Have I no heart?

When I was younger, I used to get teary-eyed when I saw people on the streets begging for money. I thought that the people who didn't give all the cash in their wallets were horrible human beings for not helping a homeless person get dinner. Part of me is still the overly-trusting, naive, if you will, person that I was as a child.

About three months ago, Tannon and I were approached by a young girl (about my age) with a stroller. She came up to me and very politely said, "I am so sorry, I sincerely hate to bother you, but my husband and I got evicted today and all of the homeless shelters are full because it's so cold and I just really need a warm place to stay tonight, for my baby. We will be okay, hopefully the shelter will open up and we will try again tomorrow, but could you please spare some money to help us get a motel for the night?" My heart was broken. I could relate so well with this girl. She was very normal looking and had a baby for crying out loud. I trusted her. I worried about her the rest of the night.

So, the other week my friend from work came in and was telling me about a girl, with a baby (which, by the way, neither of us actually saw the baby), who had just got evicted and was turned away from homeless shelters. It was the same girl who I had sincerely worried about and spent a lot of time thinking and hoping that everything turned out okay for her and her family. And here she is, 3 months later pulling the same crap on my friend. I felt betrayed. I had trusted this girl who was so sincere and apologetic for taking my time. I believed her.

I have seen this girl approach several other people since and my heart has turned hard & callused. Since I work downtown and ride TRAX, I get asked for money about 4 or 5 times a day from different people. I honestly can't trust these people anymore and find myself feeling resentful. I hate that this world has become so corrupt that it forces people not to trust.

10 comments:

Shaylynn.. said...

Holy cow, i'll pick my jaw up off the ground. I would be so pissed, what a hard lesson to learn. I'm sorry:) if it makes you feel any better i would follow that stinking woman around night and day just to point out she's full of it. I'm not nice. Sorry babe. Love you.

Michelle said...

I can totally relate - except for the part about being approached by the girl with the stroller. :o) I always feel bad when I see people begging for money and not giving them any. I have calmed my conscience by giving money to the Church's humanitarian fund. I'm always leary of giving someone on the street money that will probably be used for drugs or alcohol.

Caleb and Marci said...

Don't worry- you are actually really nice. A few months ago I gave money to a kid at the gateway who had asked me for it "just to get a bus ticket home because he was stranded here when his friends' car broke down." (good story right?) Well, then I saw him a couple weeks later, and he asked me the same thing. I just lost it and yelled at him to stop lieing and scamming people for money and to "Just go home already!" Both times I was on my way in to work, which almost just made me resent him even more. You are nice to see her and never say anything or demand to see the baby. And you are just nice since you don't yell at random strangers. :-)

Maren said...

I think a lot of us feel weary about giving money to strangers because we never know if they really need it or not. It sucks when you find out that the person you felt for is actually scamming you. How I see it is God knows your heart and how you feel. I see homeless people ALL the time living here and always wish I had more to give them. I think that you care about people and that you are trusting is a good thing and isn't naive. I think you probably didn't give this girl enough money to break your bank or put you in any harm and I think that even if she isn't using it how she said she was going to you will still be blessed. I honestly feel bad for people that have to stoop to scamming other people. It has to weigh on their conscience at some point. My philosophy is I will always give what I can and not think too much about it because I will never really know their situation and it will just make me feel bad if I stop trusting... Sorry... I think you can tell I've thought a lot about this. I think we'd all do well to remember King Benjamin's words in Mosiah 4 - I think if you go read it it will ease your mind a bit. I love you Cally and I know how caring you are, so I hope you know that this comment is just trying to show how I've dealt with this situation myself.

A and M said...

My heart turned hard & callused years ago, I'm sad to say, because of all the bums that were begging for money when I lived in Denver. We would offer to buy them some food but they could careless about the food!
Now in L.A. I live across the street from a Subway (sandwiches). There is a very overweight man that will sit outside & ask for money or food...he just seems lazy to me, in no way does he look starving!

Mike & Kim said...

Wow, I totally agree with you! I'm all for giving people some food or clothes to stay warm, but it's almost impossible to trust anyone begging for money anymore. It's sad that we can't distinguish the truth from the false. And, I swear I saw that lady at the gateway over Christmas????

Ashley said...

Wow.
That's all I have to say.
Although I've totally had the same feelings, I'd have to piggyback on what Mare said. I hope I can gain that perspective that she mentioned. Not there yet...

stace said...

i have a similar attitude. if we pass a person begging for money on the street and he has cash in his wallet, they get it. i don't understand because i've just seen too many instances where it's creepy dishonest people... but whatdya do? that's sick though, using a "baby" to get money!

The Tanners said...

Cally, oh man I can relate a thousand times over with this one. It inspired me, ah that sounds deep, motivated me to do a post on my blog. Just know you did your part, you gave teh money you are a good person, she will be held responsible for you actions. Love ya

jrpetho said...

Love your post;)