There are things in life that just aren’t fair. That is a fact. I was reminded of that yesterday as I tried to help some people in need.
My husband and I saw three clearly homeless people and a dog asking for help at a popular intersection. We turned to one another and knew that we must help them. We were headed to Starbucks and I grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water for each person, explaining to the barista where they were going. She kindly did her part in discounting the items and wished all of us luck. Upon returning to deliver the items the police pulled up alongside them. We were determined to help in any way that we could, so we proceeded. I walked up to the group who were now getting hassled and written tickets that most likely will not be able to be paid, and with kind words handed them the bag ” it looks like you could use this”. The look of appreciation on the man’s face was evident and shock on the others that I came upon them while the police were there. One of the police officers pulled me aside as I was turning to walk away explaining there is a policy in place against panhandlers in intersections and people giving to panhandlers. I had no idea and was just trying to help some people who clearly needed it. He explained that giving money especially was prohibited because they just use it to buy drugs, but the food and water we gave them should be ok.
At this point my husband got out of the car thinking that I was being accosted. Our dog also jumped out of the car window as I was walking back to the car.
I couldn’t explain what the officer said to me because I was so emotional. Thinking about it now brings it back. How much courage do you think it took for those people to advertise that they were so in need? What chain of events caused the situation they were in? Then to be treated like they don’t matter and written tickets that they can’t pay. Assuming they are drug seekers.
Was any of that necessary? Could the police have just asked them to move along? Life isn’t fair.
Maybe the emotion hit me because in another life that could have been me. I’ve been pretty low before and there were times I didn’t know if I would have a roof to cover myself and my daughter.
My husband and I share the dream of opening a homeless shelter in the Madison area. We will call it the Birdhouse. Even that is just a business plan, to help the people in need in just our community takes an enormous amount of money and assistance. So for now we do our small part day to day and remember that our problems are small in the grand scheme of things.