Friday, October 23, 2015

Poverty -- a bittersweet moment

New York City is a place of contrasts. I think we see the contrasts of wealth more clearly here than in many other places.

I'm having a good day today, as I have a good job, plenty of nice clothes to wear, and plenty of good food to eat.

There is an increasing number of homeless people in the city. People are asking strangers for help. One such woman got on my subway car as I was headed for work this morning. She had a loud and clear voice. Perhaps she's a singer. She had a prepared speech where she said she's not homeless, she pays rent, and here are her keys, dangling from her waist. She needs help for food and has no food. Some people reached in their pockets and got out dollar bills for her. As it happened, I had packed a nice lunch for myself. I gave it to her, and she seemed quite touched that I gave her a full meal, and she thanked me very well and said I should have a blessed day.

I hope it helped, and I suspect it did. If so, I'm glad it helped. It's a small thing for me, and it might be a big thing for her.

But it's sad that things are like this, that people can't afford food for themselves, even when they are doing the best they can, working and living where they can. Perhaps this woman recently hit rock bottom and is lifting herself up, and if so, she deserved a helping hand. And perhaps she'll be doing better soon. I hope so.

It was a moving moment. I got a little teary-eyed, though I don't think anyone would have noticed. I didn't notice anyone looking at anyone else.