On the subject of giving

I gave a person in need a dollar this morning, while on my subway ride to work. I only write about this, because it’s unusual behavior for me. I’m your typical jaded New Yorker, and when someone trolls the subway cars asking for money, my first thought is that they are a con artist. Why is that my first thought?

My second reason why I usually don’t give money to people asking (I hate the term “beggars”) is that I never EVER want to reach into my wallet in front of someone asking for money. My fear is having it ripped out of my hands, the person running away at top speed with my money and all of my personal information. It’s not the norm that I have loose change or dollars in my purse, so I don’t give.

But as of late, I’ve tried to make sure that some loose change is available. It’s a recession, and I’ve noticed that the number of people asking for money has grown exponentially in the last year. Young people, old, dirty, clean, etc. People asking for money on behalf of the poor, people asking on behalf of themselves. On behalf of their children, because they lost their job and can’t find another one to support their family with.

The jaded New Yorker in me can scoff at these people, and assume that they’re all out to make a buck, going home afterward to laugh at all the people who gave from their pockets, and count their loot. But who I am to make that decision that they are all lying? The man who I gave money to today was clean looking, wearing clothes that weren’t tattered, and he was asking for money for food to eat, because he was diabetic, and needed food to maintain his blood sugar levels. Will the dollar that I gave to him hurt me? Luckily, no. Will it help him? Hopefully, yes. And did the look in his eyes when he thanked me and said, “God bless you” make me feel like I did something nice today? Yes. And even if I did get burned, and he wasn’t telling the truth, at least someone else on the train saw me do something nice, and maybe they’ll pass it along.


  1. Dollface says

    That was really nice of you… I always think about giving them money on the subway, but dont, is that bad?? youre such a good nycer!! xxxooo

  2. I used to keep snacks and drinks in my car to give to the homeless people standing at traffic lights. They were always grateful – except for ONE guy who seemed annoyed that I didn't give him cash ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Good for you!!!

  4. Lisa-Marie says

    Well done!

    My husband jokingly says that one day I will ruin us, because I give alot (for us)away. I buy 3 Big Issue magazines a week (homeless people sell them here) and there is a homeless man who sits near our house who I buy a cup of t4a and a roll for very time I see him. Also my friends and I regularly make big batches of food and give them to the homeless. I feel terrible if I walk past someone and can't give them something.

    If you want to help out, you could make flapjacks or something and give them to people who ask. A decent flapjack with some seeds is enough to stop someone being hungry for a few hours.

  5. I do sometimes try to have a bit of spare change handy on my person in case I see someone in need but most of the time I just have to say sorry and keep walking.

  6. Girl from Pennsylvania says

    Two weeks ago I was in Dan Diego and a homeless man came into the Subway I was at to "sample" some of the lunch meet. I felt that awkward look but don't look and kept thinking, I could buy him a freaking sub. Then I left.

    I will go ahead and tell you that I told my husband about it later and sat there and cried that I could have bough the guy a footlong sub for 5 bucks and I didn't.

    Later that week I was in downtown (gorgeous by the way) when a homeless man walked by and asked if the food was good. I said yes and asked if he wanted some. He looked shocked and said really? I gave him some and honestly, it probably meant more to me than it did to him.

    I wish I did it more.

  7. Girl from Pennsylvania says

    i was in San Diego, not Dan Diego. HA.

  8. i have the same mentality of feeling like so many people are schemers and what not, but i've definitely tried to change it lately, so good for you!

  9. Good for you!!

  10. that was a really nice thing you did. I definitely should do it more myself but the jaded Chicago part of me doesn't. There are just so many people in need, I feel guilty not being able to do enough.

  11. Good for you! I have the same fears of someone taking off with my wallet.

  12. Jen on the Edge says

    Thought provoking. I'm noticing more people asking for money in my little downtown too.

    During Christmas, I usually keep loose change in my coat pocket because my girls refuse to pass a Salvation Army bell ringer without stopping and putting money in the bucket.

  13. xoxoKrysten says

    Aw that was nice of you! Huge pat on the back!

  14. Yups, is good for you my dear


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