Monday, January 10, 2011

Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice...

I get a strange feeling inside of me whenever I see a homeless person, especially if it's a woman.  

I go through her life in my mind and try to imagine how she got to that point, and how she may get back.

I wonder where her father and mother are.  Does she have siblings?  How could they let this happen to her?

In the parking lot of our local WalMart, I was approached by a woman younger than I am and she asked me for money.  I was shopping with both kids and it was dark outside.  I wanted to help her and I wanted to run.

She approached me with a story already leaving her mouth.  I didn't even really listen to her story, just handed her a couple of bucks and she quickly moved on.  She even said, "God bless you."

I thought about her all night.

Shopping at WalMart again, I saw her.  She was going up and down each parking lot aisle.  Asking for money.  

I was listening to her story now. She had a different one for each person she approached.  I had a sad, strange...sad feeling inside of me now. 

It's been weeks since I first saw her.  Does she tell a new story each time because her truth is so painful and hard and embarrassing?  

Or is she just fooling us all?  I don't know.  I don't ever want to know.  But it makes me think even more about my kids, especially my little girl.  That lady is, or was, someone's baby girl.  

She asked me for money again.  There was no sense of fear, urgency, or worry in her voice.  I did not open my wallet.  I prayed for her as she walked away, which is sometimes all one can do.  

I hate this feeling...


  1. Wow- great thoughts and well expressed. I struggle with this too. I think you did the right thing. One thing I have learned is that people are not an investment, meaning I don't give to them expecting to see a return in their life. We are not responsible for their actions, only to love them.

  2. this EXACT same thing happened to me just a few moments ago at bed bath and beyond. it is so hard to decide what to do to be helpful in these situations. you prayed for her and sometimes that's the best thing you can do... i also hate that feeling!

  3. There is a woman and her 2 children who beg outside of church (!) every Sunday. She stands there or follows you around with a cup and says, "Please, maam" because her English isn't good (not Spanish, though- something totally different that reminds me of Eastern Europe). It bothers me that she does it at church, but I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

  4. It is a tough call.
    I have now set the standard if Jack is with me.
    After giving our umbrella away to a man off the freeway, he expects me to help.
    I suppose, regardless of the their stories or excuses, they are still worse off than the rest of us. If I don't have the change, or don't get caught at the red light, I say a quick prayer for this person, who, like you said, is somebody's child.