Miscellany

How do you help those that don’t speak up?

I am not big on handout’s and I admit it. I can recall only one time since I’ve been in New York that I reached in my pocket and took out money. I was on the train heading home from work in the middle of the night. I don’t know where he came from, he jumped on at a random station and I just never paid attention. While I was reading my book a hand held out flat came across the page. As I slowly looked up I saw a kid in his early 20’s in sneakers and jeans. That’s it. Shirtless in the middle of January in New York City. I was bundled up head to toe and still freezing. I can still recall to this day the look of despair on the kids face. I reached in my wallet and gave him all I had. He responded with a blank look of just being totally lost. To this day his face haunts me. Why didn’t I do more? Why didn’t I offer my coat? Where was he headed? Could I have done more?

Living in New York City I see it daily, people on the trains or sitting in the streets asking for handouts. I have a hard time handing these people money. Often I see them with new shoes and fancy jackets. The same one’s with the same speech yet they are always in new clothes. People willfully reach in their pockets and hand over cash. If you have the cash and you are willing to do this, by all means, do it. That is awesome of you. Though the gentleman who sleeps on the train that has been living in the same clothes and unshaven for months is absolutely invisible. People fear this guy or are grossed out and move to another train car. If this guy was wearing decent clothes and walking through the train asking for money, he would certainly get it. Personally, my heart goes out to those people that don’t speak up.

Recently, I was waiting for the train and a gentleman was sitting on the bench rocking back and forth. Two different trains came through the station and he didn’t jump on either one. Not once did he ask for anything or any kind of help. People shuffled past him like he wasn’t even there. I was on the subway and witnessed a lady that clearly had mental issues. She seemed harmless, yet she had some odd gestures and behaviors. People moved away, some even giggled and the worst, some mocked her. The most disgusting thing I ever witnessed was a group of people getting their picture with a homeless man that was asleep on a metal grid for warmth. For this I had to draw the line and speak up. How is this funny?

Years ago, I worked with a Pastry Chef that said “The sad thing is that, one day that person was loved”. To which my Mom added “or was never loved at all”. To have never been loved or to be left alone. Is such a horrific thought to me.

I know we can’t just go grab someone off a park bench and yell, “You need help, you’re coming with us!”. Pretty sure there are laws against that. Myself and a lady tried to help a homeless man once in the middle of winter. When the paramedics arrived they told us there was nothing they could do since he didn’t want treatment. Also, they told us if the temperature isn’t expected to fall below freezing, they can’t force someone to go to a shelter. This I didn’t know. We helped the guy on the subway , where it was somewhat warmer and said “Good luck”. That’s all we could do. When the cops saw what we were doing and yelled at us, we hauled ass.

These. These are the ones I can’t help but think about. They are the ones that go without. The ones that may need the help the most and are not receiving it. They don’t speak up for themselves or ask for handouts. Is it pride or mental conditions? Where do they go? How are they surviving if they are not asking for handouts or help?

This is what I can’t wrap my brain around.

People were created to be loved
Things were created to be used
The reason the world is in chaos
is because things are being loved
and people are being used