Monday, April 13, 2009

How to treat the homeless and beggars

During this time of economic crisis, there will probably be more homeless people and more people begging for money. How should you treat them? Should you tell them to go to hell? Tell them to stop being a victim and get a job? Or give them a few bucks and tell them to get themselves a decent meal?

A very practical way I have found is given in the Way To Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard:
Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.

A nice example of someone following this tenet (I have no idea if he has actually read it or if he is just a nice guy with a natural empathy for his fellow man or maybe both) is given here:
One paycheck away from humanity.

I applied this myself recently. I was in the parking lot of my local supermarket, just about to get back into my car after shopping, when an older man came over and asked if he could get a lift to a pharmacy that was a couple miles down the road. His usual pharmacy was next to my supermarket, but his prescription had been phoned to the wrong place. He looked rough, his clothes were old and worn, and he smelled a little. He wore shorts and his legs had scabs on them.

My initial impulse was to say no, but I decided to put myself in his place. At worst he was lying to get a free ride and at best he was what he said he was. So what did I have to lose? I said, "Sure," and opened the door for him.

In the couple of minutes it took to drive to the pharmacy we had a nice chat and when we arrived he was extremely appreciative. I drove off having made a new friend and with a warm feeling inside.

So next time someone on the street asks for help, try putting yourself in there shoes. Remember the old saying "There but for the grace of God go I."


Peace said...

That's a very good post Grahame!

Jim Gatos said...

Very good, Grahame, but on the other hand your lucky he didn't hurt you, or worse...

I'd be too apprehensive...

Grahame said...

If I'd felt he was a threatening or dangerous sort of guy then I would have said "No," but I just didn't get that vibe from him, so I gave him a lift.

He turned out to be a very nice old chap.