Everyday things

I grew up in a family of five boys. I don’t think that we were a rich family but my parents had enough money to make it by. Having to worry about feed five boys is probably a hard feat to undertake but my parents did a good job. I thought that we had it bad when I was younger but I can see how that we had it pretty good.

Poverty is something that is very saddening to see. It’s hard not to understand how some people managed to get that low. I would hate to be in their position and living out on the streets. As much as I’d like to help some of them out, it’s doubtful that my contribution will be put to good use.

When I was in Hong Kong in February, I saw probably one of the saddest things I’ve seen in my life. I was walking around in Jordan with Jenn when we came to a hill. At the bottom of the hill is a marketplace filled with shoppers. At the top of the hill was a mother and her child sitting in the middle of the street. If it was just the mother, I’d feel a little sympathetic but to see her and her child sitting there almost got me choked up.

Seeing the mother and her child made me realized how much for granted I’ve taken things. I have little appreciation for things that I use every day. They’re so readily available to me that I don’t think twice before taken advantage of things. But then you go around and see things like this and you wonder how some people make it to the next day. I’m sure that they have to eat and with no money, how do you do that? If they can live like that, everyone else can probably do the same. People have to eat in order to survive and without the proper nutrition you’ll probably die.

People who live in poverty need very little to survive. I assume that their bodies cope with the lack of food and it makes due with what they have. Sometimes, I‘ll see homeless people walking around with a loaf of bread. If I had nothing to eat but bread, I’d be pretty hungry but then again, my body is used to consume food on a schedule. I usually have lunch at 12:00pm so if I don’t eat right at 12:00pm, my body will start to complain and my stomach will growl.

It’s saddening to see homeless people around the city. Canada is not a third world country so sights like that should be seen. When I get approached by pan handlers, a part of me wants to help them but the other part of me doesn’t trust their story. Most of them will come up to me and tell me a very sad and touching story and it makes me sympathize with them but I know that it’s bullshit.

Today, I made my stop at the gas station for coffee and newspaper. When I pulled into the parking lot, there was a car parked in the spot where I usually parked. I got out of the car and the guy greeted me and told me about his predicament. Here’s his story:

Could you help us out? We’re trying to get back to Woodstock and we’ve been stranded here for a few days. Our car isn’t work too well and we’ve asked a guy to fix it. I gave him the money and he said that he was going to go get his tools but he hasn’t come back since. Now we have no money for gas and we can’t go anywhere. I’m trying to get my dad home and my daughter hasn’t seen her fifteen month old baby in a couple of days. If you have anything to help us, we would appreciate it.

I told him that I’m sorry he’s in this mess but there’s nothing that I could do to help him out. I’ve got my own bills to pay and I don’t have any extra money to give them. I’ve got to put gas in my car to get me places too. I know that maybe $5 could probably help them but there’s no way they’ll be able to get to Woodstock with $5 of gas.

Another story of a homeless person trying to scam some money out of me was when I was approached on the street by a guy holding flowers. I know this guy from working as security at the library so whatever he has to say is probably a lie. He may look and sound sincere but his attempt to get my money is futile.

Listen man, can you help me out? My wife is sick in the Toronto hospital and I just need enough money for bus fare to get me back there. It’s a real emergency and I want to be by her side to make sure she’s okay. I’ve got her these flowers but I’m a little short for bus fare. Can you help me out here?

I had to decline this guy as well because he seemed a bit shady. Obviously, he doesn’t have his priority straight if he went and bought the flowers first before buying a bus ticket to see his dear wife who is suffering in the hospital. I’m sure his wife would appreciate the flowers if he made it there but I think she’d appreciate it more if he was there in person.

The thing about these people is that they’ll continue to do this day after day until they get something. There’s one guy that’s going around town with the same story and I’m pretty sure that he could have walked to where he was going a lot faster than asking people for money. For at least two years, this guy has been trying to get to St. Catherines to see his family. He bought a one way ticket to Hamilton and somehow didn’t have enough money to get back. I’m sorry but that his lost.

Another lady seems to always have an emergency with her dad getting hurt and getting into the hospital. She’ll come up to you and start crying and saying that she needs $20 to get to Toronto because her dad is in the hospital. Of course, the timing is bad because she doesn’t get paid until Friday and she needs to leave tonight. The first time I saw her, I thought it was real but then I saw her again when I was at the restaurant. She walked up the stairs and gave the same story of her dad and pay date. Even though she gave me this story a long time ago, I still remember it.

What I don’t quite understand is why people should resort to lying in order to get financial assistance. I know that some of them are wasting money on alcohol and stuff but some of them actually need it for good. I’ve seen a few homeless people go to the library and actually make use of their time. How they got in their current predicament is beyond me but I think that the government should do something about it. If they are doing something about it now, I think they should do a better job at it. They shouldn’t just help them so that they get a free pass on life. They should do something to help the homeless people get a job. Like the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”