I pull my coat hard to protect myself from the biting cold. I find myself paying more attention to the icy streets and the car that nearly runs me over and I have a decidedly “Hey I’m WALKING here” moment.  I look up. There is a man on the corner. He stands with a dirty coat and unkempt hair. He has a sign that reads “Anything helps God bless”. This hits home. I walk a bit quicker and fumble inside my pocket for change. Nothing… I don’t have anything but a few bucks. “Sir… Sir? “I ask quickly. He looks around unsure of who I was talking to. I make eye contact. He has brown eyes. Red. Tired eyes. “Sir” I say again. “This is for you. “ He looks confused and then realization comes to him. “It’s not much. But I hope it helps” I say handing him the few bills. “Thanks” he mumbles “I hope you have a good night sir.” I tell him again.

I know I know you’re not supposed to give money to the homeless. Whatever. He’s only going to use it for drugs or beer. That’s not my place to judge. I know he might not buy a cheese burger with the 3 dollars that I gave him. But for that brief moment. I showed a bit of humanity to someone who was down on his luck. I didn’t get his story. But I could see the pain and utter exhaustion in his eyes. I made a connection, however brief. It’s not going to solve the homeless problem. But it gets me thinking about someone other than myself. And that may be the first step to solve the problem of homelessness.

Written by Emilie Crossley

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