DID YOU KNOW…….that we have signs in downtown Greenville, SC that ask us not to encourage panhandling?
Interesting how many different views we all have and how many interpretations one small community can and does have in regard to one sign. Not knowing the true history of the sign, I had/have my own interpretation. I took this to mean that we should help those in need more than by just handing them some money and rush past them. Now if we aren’t giving them money and we have to look them in the eyes (as we should every human being), what do we say? I say things like hi, how are
you, nice day, etc. If I am asked for money/food/etc. I inform them where Project Host https://www.projecthost.org is, which is not more than 1 mile from downtown, and that they can get lunch everyday, socks, etc. Just my interpretation and you know what? Everyone listens and smiles. I am going to continue to hope that at least one of them goes for lunch at Project Host/A Soup Kitchen, etc. one day in the future, gets a good meal, maybe some very needed socks and has a few minutes to sit back, and feel like they are safe.
So that sign encouraged me to offer help to, share a smile with, show some respect for a fellow human being. Literally 5 nights ago, I was walking downtown after a meeting and somewhere around the Falls Park steps on Main, a guy, 30ish, a little worn, with the American Flag wrapped around his back and tied at his neck was walking toward me. As we passed, we both smiled and said hi to each other, and I said something about what a beautiful night it was. Do you know he stopped me and thanked me for looking him in the eyes and actually being nice. He never asked me for a single thing, he just thanked me for being nice.
Maybe some of you know this man, many of us do not. What story or image of the man did you make up in your head as you read my little TidBit. Executive, fallen on hard times, wife took the kids to her parents while he
stays behind and tries to find a way up and out of the hole they are in, the large house he had has been repossessed? Or, homeless, dirty, lazy, a little scary man that is approaching you to ask you for money - or did it even flicker (many of you did get a flicker) for a millimeter of a second that he could be an old friend, a former neighbor, a family member who lost their job due to CoVID. He took a job making much less, now he was making minimum wage and was not able to support (as in feed, provide shelter, medicine, basic necessities) for his wife and two children. His wife was a stay at home mom because it was cheaper than daycare when factoring in gas, work clothes, actual daycare expense, eating lunch out occasionally, etc. What if…..we stop and wonder and share our feelings and thoughts? What if…
*TidBits is a place for me to occasionally share my views/opinions on a few tidbits - stepping way out of my comfort zone here. I believe that if we don’t share our actual thoughts/feelings progress will always be out of our reach - it is scary to share on this platform, so please be kind.