Was running an errand with ninja #2 in the rain this morning, and we passed a homeless man, drenched in a soggy blanket and holding a tattered cup.
I stopped to ask him what he needed.
“Just some change for the shelter, but I don’t think I’ll be lucky today.”
I found a crumpled £20 and a few crumbly ‘Aussie Bites’ from Costco and handed them over. I wished him well, and told him that I hoped he’d find somewhere warm and safe soon.
“But mum, what if he was scamming you?” Ninja #2 was incredulous.
He might have been, but I was answering to my conscience. I would not have been able to sleep tonight if I walked away, when I could have made a little difference to someone today.
I used to buy dinners for the homeless when I was working in Croydon some time ago. It made me feel good.
Until this one time, the ‘homeless-looking’ girl jumped up and said, “Yay! Free food!” and ran away.
I felt used, and scammed.
After awhile, after much introspection, I decided that it didn’t matter.
If 2 people scammed me out of the 10 people I helped, I still made a difference to 8 people.
As a Samaritans volunteer, we get many misuse of service calls. People who abuse the system. When I get a string of such calls during my shifts, it does get me down, and make me wonder if I am wasting my time.
But, out of it all, if I just received one call, where I made a difference to that one caller, then it has been worth while.
I cannot let the few bad apples make me cynical or jaded. The world has too many cynical, jaded people who no longer believe in the value of kindness. In case they get cheated. Scammed. Made use of.
I am hoping that I am able to teach by example, that:
1. You don’t need a reason to be kind, and
2. You only have to answer to your own conscience, or moral compass.
I sleep well at night, because I do what I can.
Consciously, and mindfully.
As much as I can.
And I wish that for my children, and for everyone else.