I was walking downtown with Kirsten today (The Chinese Garden in Chinatown is closed on Mondays, for future reference) and a lady who didn’t look so hot came up to us and pleaded for change–real “please help me” sort of stuff. I stopped in my tracks and started to dig around in my pocket to see what I had for her, and as soon as I started to do this she began saying “oh you’re an angel, thank you so much.” Now I like to keep bus fare ($2 as I’m sure you know) in my pocket at all times when I’m out and about, and when I pulled out all my change all I had was $2.10 so I said “all I can give you right now is a dime.” I didn’t know what she would say or do, but I certainly didn’t expect “A dime? What am I going to do with a dime? That doesn’t help me!” She continued berating me but I wasn’t going to stand there and take it so I put my money back in my pocket and we kept walking. That whole situation really bugged me. I’m not living on the street; I’m not destitute; but if I needed some money and a close personal friend, much less an imperfect stranger offered me a dime or even a nickel, I would give thanks. I wouldn’t throw it back in their face.
As it turns out, I could have given her the full $2.10 because my bus pass barely had enough time left on it for me to use it again (it was so close that Kirsten, who got her pass mere moments after mine was given the evil BUZZ of rejection from the transfer machine), but her ungracious attitude didn’t leave me feeling very guilty about that. I mean I know that she may be psychotic or going through withdrawal or something, but I think Jesus Christ himself would have that moment of chagrin where his internal monologue reads “oh…I see. My dime’s not good enough for you, eh?”