Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I don’t beg outside of a restaurant, but I was wondering how you handle it when people come up to you asking for money or for food. Do you give it to them or do you keep on walking? I’m asking this because yesterday Bo and I went to Arby’s for lunch. There was a man walking in the parking lot going from car to car asking for money to buy food. I felt lucky because he didn’t ask me on our way in the restaurant, but he was right there when we came out. At first I just kept on walking, but his repeating how hungry he was over and over again got to me. No, I didn’t give him money, I offered to by him food.
Our conversation went something like this…
Begging Man – Can I please have some money I’m Hungry (grabbed his stomach for affect)?
Me – No, I won’t give you money, but I will buy you a meal.
Begging Man – But I’m hungry. I need money.
Me – I am more than willing to buy you anything on the menu. We will go inside and I will buy you whatever you want, but I won’t give you money.
Begging Man- (thinks about it, even walks towards Arby’s.) then says to me that’s okay thanks.
Me – That’s okay, but I’m willing to buy you food.

Begging Man turns around and starts asking the people in the drive thru for money. I am sure the guy was hungry. I’m also sure whatever he wanted the money for he wanted more than food.

After we got in the car Bo said to that I had a good answer for him. I didn’t think of it as just a good answer I really did want to buy him food. I was willing to go into Arby’s and buy him whatever he wanted on the menu, but he didn’t take me up on my offer.
So that leads me back to my question – What do you do when someone ask you for money because they are hungry


Lola....L..O..L..A....lo--oh--luh! said...

That was the perfect answer. He was hungry, and you were going to feed him. If I am where I can get them food, that is usually what I do. I grab a lunchable at walmart to give to the "Stranded..need help" cardboard sign guy at the stoplight.

I think you have to go with your feelings though. If someone asks I feel like I should give to them because that is what I would wnat them to do if I was in need. I am also a little bit of a sucker.....I give them a few bucks, because what if I think they are faking it...and I'm wrong? What would Jesus do?

Amy said...

I think that you did and said the right thing. I think that he was hungry but not for food and that's so sad.

I definitely would not have given him any money, buy the food yourself and give it to him.

Lindy Julian said...

You did your best to help this person. I had a similar experience recently, except it was at the gas station. A older man came to my car and asked for money to buy gas so that he could get to auburn to get a job. He actually startled me and I quickly said that I did not have any money. He was polite and apologized for disturbing me. I finsihed putting gas in my car and found a $5 bill and when I left, I took it to him. He was very thankful and I drove off feeling that I had not done the "best" thing. I drove home and worried about my response and then drove back to the gas station where I had decided that if he was still there, I would buy him a tank of gas--he was not there-I wish I had originally offered the tank of gas.

Chzrm3 said...

Honestly, you have to be careful. I live in NYC, which means that I'm constantly accosted by people begging for money. As callous as this sounds, I have learned to drown out the majority of their pleas - and it's not because I don't want to help them, but because the truly destitute people don't sit on the sidewalks and beg. They're the ones going from soup kitchen to soup kitchen, fighting to get into a shelter when night falls, and constantly traveling, trying to better their position.

My heart is only moved when someone needs something specific. For example, a man outside of the subway was begging for somebody to swipe him through - he said he lived in Queens, had just been mugged (he didn't have any cuts or bruises, which was why I believed him), and all he wanted was a swipe so he could get home. I swiped the guy through the turnstile and watched him happily head towards the Queens-bound train, as he thanked me a thousand times over.

People on the sidewalk with a tin cup in their hand aren't going to have their lives improved if I throw money in their cup - it only reinforces the horrible notion that they can sustain an existence that way. My feeling is that giving people in that situation money is cruel, moreso than it is generous. However, if someone legitimately wants food/a swipe/a warm drink, I have no problem doing that.

Jacki said...

You did the right thing. Like you, I would have offered to buy him food, since you were right there at Arby's. We see a lot of homeless in DC, and instead of giving them money, I will give them whatever food or snacks or drink I have with me. Most times I don't have money on me, because we don't carry cash with us.