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Those on the side of the road and food

Someone with whom I have an immense respect for once told me that he never gave money to beggars on the street. Yet, when someone would come around to the back of his restaurant he would find a away for them to earn it.

This left a question in my echoing brain...If he really did not need the work done, why make a bum work for it, why not just give them the money? The restaurant owner went on and on about making them earn the money and how it would teach them responsibility.

It came down to never give anyone a free lunch.

Today I was in a funk, depressed about the way everything is going and totally unsure what I could do about it. I'd had a shitty day yesterday and was basically in a blue haze. While I was driving to my next delivery I got off the highway and saw a guy with a sign asking for any contribution. "Anything Helps," was what his placard said.

Usually, I ignore these guys, I think there is some kind of organization in the area that sends people out to beg for money and then pool it all together. Somehow this seems dishonest to me. At any rate, I thought that maybe I needed to do a random act of kindness to help elevate my fowl mood. But the words of my mentor echoed in my brain.

So, I pulled my hand away from my wallet and decided to give him my lunch. After all, I had some money to buy lunch later, right? Yeah, I know, "Never give a free lunch." I thought, what if this guy really is in need, maybe this food would help more than cash?  At least he could not use the food to buy booze just to get drunk.

Usually when I do this, give my lunch to someone, I feel like I have done something good. But my suspicions about some kind of organization working the streets for money spoiled that gratification. Also the knowing that the only reason I did this was to make me feel better helped to spoil my euphoria.

So, why do we give to charities? There are a number of reasons, or symptoms for this behavior: Philanthropic, the desire to help the down-trodden, some people have an excess of cash, some just want the look of gratitude they get.

I guess I am of the latter category. I don't have that much to give, nor do I have a whole lot of happiness. One of the few times I know that I have done something good is when I give something to someone who has less than me.

In a way this is a very selfish thing I do. By giving, or helping someone in need, I am giving happiness to me. Now this can create an inner conflict, like the one we talked about above: should I give to someone knowing that the REAL reason I am doing it is to ease my inner turmoil? Or should I keep my lunch and let others feel the bliss of giving?

This is compounded by the knowledge, or feeling that there is some kind of scam going on, thus negating any good I may be giving the individual.

When I got through the light I had given the guy my lunch, yet felt no euphoria. Later in the day, I bought lunch at Hardy's or someplace and realized that in effect I had given the guy $10.00 and had gotten no real emotional boost.


olc

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