Friday, June 12, 2009

Expressway Signs

A modern British LED Traffic Light (Siemens He...Image via Wikipedia

The kids and I were out running errands today. We came to the end of our exit ramp off the expressway and were stopped at the red light. Immediately to my left was, what I assumed to be, a homeless man. He was standing right on the edge of the road, holding a sign that read something like this: "Traveling need money God Bless". He was an older gentleman; somewhat dirty and scruffy, a duffel bag sat next to his feet. In our little corner of the world, we are just far enough from the city that we don't usually encounter homeless people. Sitting at the traffic light, we were close enough to him that we could probably open the window and reach out to touch him. My kids' reactions were varied. My daughter (12) barely gave him a second look. My 10 yr. old son immediately called out "there's a hobo" and nervously checked to see if our doors were locked (I'm sorry, I know that's probably so politically incorrect, but, that's just what came to his mind I suppose. He really wasn't trying to be mean). My youngest (Zachary, 8) asked me if I was going to give him any money. I instructed them not to stare and told my son that no, I would not be giving him any money. We had just eaten lunch at McDonald's and still had our drinks with us in the car. Zachary then said "I could give him my drink". Such a sweet and innocent thing to say.

As the light turned green and we drove away, we talked a little bit more about the man. Where did I think he was traveling? Couldn't he go get a job? Did I think he was on drugs? These were just a few of the questions they asked. I explained how we don't know what situations led him there - something really awful could have happened in his life. We just don't know. Even though we weren't actually giving him money, we could still feel for him and try not to judge him. On the other hand, I told them, he is a stranger and we have to be wary of him. I'm feeling pretty good, like we're having this big discussion on compassion and life and what-not. Then, my 10 yr. old son comes out with this....

Well, I think he would get more money if his sign said 'I need money and I'm not going to kill you' much for our deep, philosophical discussion.


Heather said...

It's great that you got to have that discussion, and also hilarious that you son made the comment about what his sign should say! :)

Nerdy Jess said...

Bwaha, I LOVE that because I totally think of things like that too!

Stopping by from SITS, missed roll call yesterday ;)


Daddy Forever said...

We see them all the time over here. I feel bad for them, but I have a feeling any money they get will go to booze for most of them.

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