Why You Should Stop Ignoring The Homeless Man On The Street
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Why You Should Stop Ignoring The Homeless Man On The Street

One simple act of kindness can make all the difference.

133
Why You Should Stop Ignoring The Homeless Man On The Street
Fast CoExist

I live in New York City, so naturally I come across many homeless men and women when I’m out and about. Now, I’m the type of person who feels bad for people over the smallest things, so seeing someone in dirty rags sitting on the cold, hard ground begging for money makes my heart ache tremendously. When I first moved to the city, I was handing out dollar bills left and right hoping I could make a tiny difference in these peoples’ lives. However, as I’m sure many New Yorkers can attest to, after seeing homeless people everywhere you go, by the grocery store, in the park, on the subway, etc., it can be easy to become somewhat numb to the sight. You get so used to encountering this depressing image that you just start to ignore it. You realize that there are so many homeless out there, what is giving one dollar to one guy standing on the street going to do? Well, I’ve found myself feeling this way as well for a brief time, but I’m here to tell you I was wrong to question my acts of kindness and so are you.

As an example, I’m going to tell a personal story. I was walking back from Best Buy near Grand Central about a year ago. I just bought a brand new, and much-needed laptop for the beginning of the school year and was carrying it back to the subway when I came across a homeless man sitting down on the sidewalk. Like most people, he had a sign asking for help. I slowly, and reluctantly walked past him while trying to read his sign. I saw that it said something about needing to buy a train ticket to Yonkers where he would have a job opportunity and a place to stay. Many thoughts raced through my mind. The only thing separating him from getting off the streets was a train ticket? I paused at the end of the sidewalk, glanced at my brand new laptop, and turned around.

I walked up to the man and tried to start a conversation with him to see what was going on. He seemed shocked that someone was actually taking time out of their day to acknowledge him. He explained his situation to me. I sat down next to him and he told me how he used to be badly involved with drugs and alcohol. In fact, that's how he got himself kicked out onto the streets. He reiterated the fact that he had family upstate and a place to stay and work but couldn't afford the ticket fare. We talked for about 10 minutes, all the while I was considering what to do in my head.

I thought to myself, "I'm wearing a new pair of running shoes. I just bought a new laptop. Both these things I didn't need. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. This guy needs this train ticket to have a fresh start on a new life and get himself out of trouble." So, I said to him, "I'll buy your train ticket." He looked at me in disbelief as tears filled his eyes. I have never seen that look on someone's face up close. It made me want to tear up with him. He kept questioning me as if he couldn't believe that a random stranger would do something so nice for him. I guess he was just used to hundreds of people walking past him each day and not even taking the time to make eye contact or smile at him.

Anyways, to make a long story.. well a little bit longer, we talked logistics and it turns out he had to get some stuff out of storage still and I wasn't going to just give him cash for the ticket, so we agreed that I would pay his phone bill for him and when he was ready he would text me and we would meet up and I would buy his train ticket. I paid his phone bill and he did text me saying how grateful he was that I was willing to listen to his story and help him out, but he never reached back out to me to pay for his way up to Yonkers. To this day, every once in awhile I still wonder what he's up to or if he ever was able to get that new job. But, either way, I don't regret what I did.

Maybe it's paying a phone bill, maybe it's one dollar, maybe it's just a smile, but whatever it is, this simple act of kindness can and will make a difference in peoples' lives. Just because someone somewhere in their life made some mistakes and got them self into a situation where they don't have a home, doesn't mean they aren't regular human beings who deserve second chances and to be acknowledged and loved just like everyone else. Everything is temporary and just as one miraculous moment can help them get back onto their feet, one disastrous moment can put you into their shoes just as easily. These simple moments can change lives and it's up to you to decide whether it will be for the good or the bad.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

202407

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1651070

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1035122
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

938106
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

613337
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

395363
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

506321

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments