Panhandlers and Compassion

Last week I was waiting behind a large white van at a stoplight at a busy intersection in London. On the median between lanes stood a man with a sign that read “Out of work, hungry, please help”.

The man in the van called to get his attention and handed him what I saw to be a $20 bill. You’d at first expect the man with the sign to give a quick “thank you” then move back to the center of the median. But the reaction recieved wasn’t just one of thanks. The man carefully took the bill in awe, brought it to his lips and kissed it, kept looking at the giver’s face with tearing eyes and was beyond words. The gratitude in his face was unmistakeable.

The man in the van kept talking to him, well into the green light. What he talked about I’m not sure, but it took a few mins and the man on the median never stopped looking thankful.

I’m not sure what the man on the median’s story is. I’m not sure what he did with the money. What i know is one man did something nice, whether spontaneously out of the goodness of his heart or for some other reason, and another man was brought to tears with thanks.

Why does this not happen more often?

 

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