The Good, The Bad and the Empath
Yesterday, on my way to a friend's house I stumbled across an older woman who was just released from the emergency room from the hospital right across the street. She asked if I could help her with bus fare to get home. My heart went out to her and I could have helped, but I didn't and I felt so bad. I did not have loose change on me, nor could I give her my bus fare card to help with fare as I was headed in a different direction. But I did have a few singles on me that I could have given her which she would have made into change for the bus. When people ask me for money on the street, I'm always cautious and slightly paranoid because it's money and this is Brooklyn, NY. My big heart could easily lead me into danger of being robbed so I oftentimes say I don't have it, even though it's partially true. They may ask for change when I only have bills, but a $5, $10, or $20.
As I told her "I'm sorry, I don't have it", she gave me a look of despair, as if she'd been out there all afternoon. I stood with her for a few seconds and told her to keep asking, I'm sure someone would help her out. I was literally on the verge of tears. I was beating myself up as I walked away. I called myself stupid and kept saying that I felt so bad for continuing her suffering. I REALIZE HER PREDICAMENT IS NOT MY PROBLEM, but I still could have helped and felt so ashamed of myself. This was on my mind until I got home late that evening.
I begged and pleaded to God and Gabriel to give me another chance because how I feel I acted to that woman is not me. I'm always willing to help out, I just don't think the situation through enough. I said, if you gave me another chance to help an individual in need, I would devote my time and money(if I had it) to that person.
This morning as I left for school, I was coming out of the supermarket when I am stopped by a homeless/down on his luck man. I had seen him before around the neighborhood. He, in a soft and low voice, told me his life story. How his wife died of AIDS and gave it to him before she passed. How he is taking care of their child by himself with no help. He went on to say that he's been out there all morning asking for help for what he needed from the supermarket but no one would stop to help him because of how he looked.
He said he's a devout Baptist and he believes in the power of the Lord very much. He talks to God everyday about his problems but once in a while, he wants to talk to someone who will answer back. He came up to me and said I look like a kind and understanding gentleman and that he knows I have a big, helping heart and that he just wanted someone to listen to his story. It just so happens I left home 30 mins early for class so I did have some extra time to stop and chat with him.
I intended on going to the bank to make a small deposit of $40. It was nothing big, but I wanted to deposit it anyway. After the guy told me his story he politely asked me if I could help him by buying some baby formula for him, something no one wants to help him with. I knew what had happened was this was a chance at redeeming myself so to speak because I felt so bad that I didn't help someone when I had the money. The formula came up to $34. I was shocked as hell baby formula costs so much, but like always when someone asks me to buy something for them, if I have the money, I will get it for them and I had it.
He was very happy and I told him God bless and never worry about the unkind people in the world, there will always be someone out there willing to help out if they can. I'm glad I was there for him because I can't even articulate how bad I felt the day before with the look in that woman's eyes. To help someone out is such a good feeling for me. If I'm sad, I will be uplifted. It's that sorta thing that makes me smile. In addition to helping the man out, I had a fabulous day.