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.

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.

A new month means new music! Like each month, I've collected my top 10 new songs or discoveries into a playlist. This November didn't have too many new releases, however, I did find a few and a couple of new discoveries.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Christmas Ideas For Couples That You Can Still Do In The Middle Of A Global Pandemic

The holidays are such a fun time to celebrate with loved ones; here are a few activities to consider being a part of during this Christmas season.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Whether it is a night in at home baking sweet Christmas themed goodies for Santa, or a night out exploring lit up neighborhoods, the holiday season should always be taken advantage of for cute activities!

Keep Reading... Show less

Every Track On Ariana Grande's 'Positions' Album Ranked

Ariana Grande has achieved major success with her new album and we're ranking every track.


Ariana Grande surprised fans in October, tweeting that her new album was being released. What followed was yet another number one peak on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album's title track and lead single, "Positions," also hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

With "Positions," Grande took a much more light-hearted approach than the confessional nature of its predecessor, "Thank U, Next." It was a welcome and refreshing change of pace. Now that the album has been out for a solid month, it's the perfect time to see how the songs rank.

Keep Reading... Show less

In the four Christmas' that I have spent with my boyfriend, I have realized one thing: boys are hard to shop for. Each year I have to rack my brain for gift ideas because when I ask my boyfriend what he wants for Christmas, he always says something along the lines of "nothing," which as a girl is hard to fathom since I literally give him a list each year before Black Friday.

After hours each year scouring the internet for the perfect Christmas gifts to get my boyfriend, I have come up with a pretty long and inclusive list. To help those girlfriends going through the same thing, I decided to put together some of the best gifts I have come across.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

10 Ways You Can Safely Enjoy The Holidays During The Pandemic

Even with a pandemic, there are still ways to celebrate.


It's almost December, which means that it's almost time for the biggest holiday season to arrive! However, it doesn't mean that COVID-19 has decided to disappear. According to the CDC, 147,840 new cases of COVID have been recorded in the last seven days.

States such as Kentucky have closed all of their restaurants, schools, and businesses until December. Some governors have started to advise caution when celebrating the holidays, too. You may be thinking, 'is there any way to really enjoy Christmas during the pandemic?' In fact, there are ways to still celebrate the holiday safely. Here are 10 ways that you can still enjoy the holiday season without canceling any of your plans.

Keep Reading... Show less

The 5 Things We ALL Want For Christmas In Mariah Carey's New Special

The Queen of Christmas is back and bringing festive moments to an all-new special premiering December 4!


Mariah Carey is saving 2020 by bringing an all-new Christmas special to Apple TV+ starting December 4. It will feature guest stars, festive moments, and musical performances. The all-star cast includes Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, and Snoop Dogg. Carey's twins will also make a special appearance.

A festive special is certainly what we all need right now. There are lots of information about the upcoming special that has many fans excited. Here are the five things from the special we're most looking forward to.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Things You Need From Target If You Want To Take Your Christmas Decor Game To A Whole New Level

No one wants to talk about 2020, but these decor pieces will give everyone something worth talking about.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

It's no secret that for a majority of people, Christmas season is the happiest time of year.

There are people that put their trees up before Halloween even begins and those that calmly wait until Thanksgiving is over. No matter which group you fall in, there's a good chance that this year has been a tough one, so why not treat yourself to a few new pieces that will spark joy in your heart every single time you catch a glimpse of them.

Keep Reading... Show less

How The 'Friends' Theme Song Is Actually Describing 2020 — And It Couldn't BE More Accurate

This isn't our day, our week, our month, and definitely not our year...


Everyone knows the iconic Friends theme song and although we may have joked in previous years how relatable it is, here's a breakdown of the lyrics and how they are so 2020, we might never be able to listen to it again after 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments