Tell us about the time when you performed a secret random act of kindness — where the recipient of your kindness never found out about your good deed. How did the deed go down?
Now, I’m not sure what it’s like where you live, but I always get asked for money by either one of two types of people… the junkies who are always asking for a dollar ‘to make a phone call’… yeah right. The only phone call you’ll be making is to your dealing to either ask them for another hit, or to tell them that you still don’t have their money yet. And that’s provided you haven’t already tried selling off your child for a couple of grams of cocaine.
I never have change for these people. I refuse to be part of the problem.
The others are the homeless people who are usually sitting on the ground with a sign on a manky piece of cardboard saying that they’re homeless and would appreciate any spare change… they will also possibly have a dog with them who looks equally as miserable as it’s owner.
More often than not, if I happen to have any change in my pocket or in my backpack, I’ll grab it and empty it into their hat or cup or whatever. I remember several years ago, there was a homeless guy who had a dog who would always be outside a cafe across from the train station. One day I was in a great mood: the sun was shining, I was feeling really good and wanted to do something nice, so I bought the guy a box of dog food and bought him a couple of baguettes from the cafe inside, and when I offered them to him, he was so incredibly grateful. That moment made me realise just how easy it can be to make somebody’s day, and that something so small and insignificant to me, can mean the world to somebody else. It was a really grounding moment for me.
Since then, I’ve always been one to donate to specific charities, to do my part to contribute to helping others.
A few weeks ago, after finishing work one night, I had another encounter. I had had a really long day, I was exhausted and starving and just wanted to get home and had just discovered that all the trains home had been cancelled and I now had to wait and hail (and pay for) yet another taxi home.
As I was leaving the building, I put on my headphones and began to walk up to the taxi rank to get a cab, when a gentleman stopped me. I normally ignore people when I’m listening to my music – if you can clearly see I’m listening to my music and don’t think that maybe I don’t want to be disturbed, then you become invisible to me and I will completely ignore you. This guy, however got the best of me.
I stopped and took off my headphones and look at him. He looked lost, and thought he needed to be given directions.
He then began to tell me that he needed to get to the bus depot. I turned around and pointed him in the direction of the bus depot.
Nope. He had missed his bus.
Oh, well, that’s annoying, but I don’t know when the next bus is. You’ll need to go to the station to check the timetable.
He knew that the next bus was in about an hours time. I didn’t understand what he wanted then. At this point he said that his wallet had been stolen, and needed to get some money to be able to afford the bus fare…
What the hell. He was very well-mannered, he seemed to be legit, and I had a moment of weakness. I put my bag down to get out my wallet and gave him the last twenty bucks that I had in there. I mean, right, twenty bucks is pretty fucking good, and you know I wasn’t the first sucker to hand over some cash to this guy.
Waiting for a very gracious thankyou, I put my wallet back in my pocket, and he just looked at me…
Are you sure that you can’t help me out any more?
…I just gave you my last twenty bucks.
Yeah, but could you maybe give me a bit more? If you want, you could go up to the ATM and get some more money out…
No, seriously, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!??!
I didn’t know whether or not to punch him in the mouth, or snatch my twenty bucks back, or both.
Um, you should be fucking grateful that I gave you my last twenty bucks. How fucking dare you have the audacity to ask me for more money. Get the fuck out of my way.
I barged past him… AND HE FOLLOWED ME!! He then stopped a group of people with the same sob story and as I waited for my cab I shouted out ‘DONT GIVE HIM ANY MONEY, HE’S SCAMMING YOU!! DON’T GIVE HIM YOUR MONEY!!!” Just as they stopped to face me, I saw one woman opening her purse… ‘NO!! STOP!! DON’T GIVE HIM ANY MONEY, HE’S SCAMMING YOU’… and quickly ran back down to the group of ladies. ‘Sorry ladies, please don’t be fooled by this con artist. I just gave him my last twenty bucks and then suggested I go to the ATM to get him more money. Put your purse away, and continue on with your night!’
The woman quickly closed her purse, gave me a weird look, and rushed off with the rest of the women. The guy looked at me and called me a prick. ‘I may be a prick, but I’m not the one scamming innocent people out of their money on some bullshit story. Go fuck yourself’, and just as I said that, I jumped into a taxi and headed home.
It just reminded me of that scene in Scary Movie, where she gives the homeless guy a sandwich instead of a dollar and he throws it back at her…