I’m selfish and I’m a liar, but good news!

I’m being prayed for tonight.

The Man dropped the Little Man off at his mom’s on the way to work today so I took the opportunity of a Sunday to myself to go to a movie (How to Train Your Dragon 2 – very cute; I cried; not the point of the story.)

I had to walk a few blocks after the film to get to the main terminal where I’d be able to get a bus home. While I was checking the schedule for upcoming buses a guy came up to me and asked if I had 50 cents for the bus. I didn’t even look or want to look in my purse. I just said, “No, I have a bus pass,” and turned up my iPod.

I’m awful. I know. I know.

He asked everyone waiting and almost asked me again before realizing he’d already tried. He was having no luck. This went on for a few minutes. I did scope out my purse at one point and found three loonies at the bottom. He said something to me again a little while after (never heard clearly – iPod) and I confessed that I’d found a dollar at the bottom of my purse, and did some more poking around for the coin again. My efforts turned up two quarters within moments and I passed them to him.

The gratitude in the guy’s eyes.. this clearly meant a lot to him. It was kind of uncomfortable how relieved he seemed, actually. “I’ll pray for you,” he said. “I promise, I’ll pray for you tonight.” I just kind of brushed it off in a “You can if you want to, go ahead, whatever” and really felt like shoeing him away like I would a fly or pesky dog. “Okay, thank you,” I finally said, brusquely, and he hurried across the street to catch the bus that was just rolling up.

I had no qualms about ignoring a guy I saw earlier in the day asking for coins and even forgot about it until this moment but this guy..

I always kind of wonder about the begging in the city. The Galaxy Theatre where the film was playing is right by a place called the Lighthouse which houses transients and offers beds to the chronically inebriated. I seem to recall hearing they have a couple ambulances that will cruise the city and pick up people that would otherwise find themselves in the company of the police for the night. They’re doing good work, but I’m always slightly wary of walking on that side of the street. I don’t know if someone’s going to come out a door and start telling a tale of money woes that may or may not be sincere. I don’t like ignoring them but I don’t really want to be pestered to give up my coins either. Always the dilemma.

The daycare the Little Man used to attend was near the STC/Greyhound bus station and at least twice we were accosted by the same guy telling some story about needing to get out of town to see an ailing parent and needed $20 and would totally mail cash back, yadda yadda.. The night we got married, we were on the street heading for a restaurant near the Rouge Gallery where our ceremony was to socialize afterwards and our progress into the building was interrupted by a couple claiming to be off the drugs and just needing a few dollars and on and on their story went, too.

It’s probably better to just give the money to the Lighthouse, or donate stuff they’ll always need, like towels or soap and blankets. But it feels mean to walk past people like they aren’t there. Don’t they already get enough of that? Everyone needs a reminder that they matter in some way…

Thoughts?

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