Saturday, October 18, 2008

Am I Going To Hell?

Dear Panhandler on my train,

I hear you. I see you. But I wish you weren't here. I never know whether to help you or turn away. You make me argue against myself because even though you try to pull at our heartstrings with your just-out-of-prison-got-nowhere-to-go story, a part of me doesn't fully believe you. Blame the man on the 1 train whose wallet gets "stolen" every other day.

I can't fact check you or look up your records. I'm even skeptical about that limp of yours. I want to help you and wish better for you, I really do, but I don't want to be taken for a fool. Are you really going to use our money for food or are you going to smoke it all tonight?

And what sucks is that you might actually need help and are doing your best to get your life back together, but I'm more concerned about feeding some addiction you might have. So I'll consider offering you food, but you're not getting my change.

Maybe I'll go to Hell for this or maybe I won't. But if I do, maybe I'll see you there if you lied to all these people who gave their money to you.

All my best,


  1. kind of creepy, but poetic :)
    I am working on your question dear, I can't tell you yet.

  2. Very interesting post - thought provoking. I think the same way.

  3. Thanks! And I can't wait to hear what you have to say. Although if the cards do in fact say I'm going to Hell in 2009, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW!

  4. Hi rick! Yeah, it saddens me because I can never trust them. Is it my NY skepticism or am I just heartless? I dont know. But I've seen plenty of scammers in my day and they feed on people's sympathy and compassion to get whatever it is they want. Sickens me.

  5. Well, you know my thoughts about those kinds of situations (it's like you typed them all here)! I don't think you're to Hell. If you do, I'll see you there. :o)

  6. :) You are heartless, people across the world have similar feelings. The way I handle it is - if I have an extra dollar in my pocket and I absolutely did no worrying about money for that day or week or pay period....I'll give it to someone. I don't care what they use it for because whatever they get with it is what they wanted or needed. I really leave it up to the "end decider" to say it wasn't the right choice. Now I usually like to opt for giving food myself, but if I have none and I have no worries for my immediate family....I'll give. It's told to us to give the shirts off our back if we can afford to do so, without judgment or question of the validity of the need. That's on THEM if they're screwing with us. *L* I'm a bleeding heart and sooooo many people disagree with me, but...hey...

  7. Lainey, Yeah I know a lot of people feel this way- torn between giving or not. We'll see who ends up where although I hope I don't really end up down there!

    Tooj, Hahaha, thanks! I should probably try to be more trusting that everyone will get what they deserve in the end according to how they lived their lives (karma!) so maybe I'll be more giving from now on. But I would rather give food to them or keep volunteering in soup kitchens/distributing food to those living on the streets. I'm happy to hear you haven't been jaded yet and are still so trusting and willing to give :)

  8. I'm right below you on SITS roll call this morning. You bring up a good point in your letter. I give to charitable agenices on a regular basis, but still feel guilt at times with the panhandler. We don't get many out where I live, so I tend to give if I have change.

  9. Sometimes food is really what they want.

    My husband is probably the nicest guy I know. If he sees a pandhandler, he'll go and buy him healthy groceries: Gatorade, water, sandwich. Things he can take with him.

    But I remember one trip to Denver for the Denver Christmas Conference for Campus Crusade for Christ, my husband (then fiancee) gave over $100 cash to the homeless. And then he witnessed to them. But his love and compassion was probably the greatest witness.

    Don't be frightened of them; they're just down on their luck usually.

  10. Oops and I was under you on the open letter linky at SITS today.

    PS I think everyone has skepticism about pandhandlers. It's hard because you want them to use it for the good but they may use it for the worst.

  11. Luckily I don't run into this problem much in my city. But it is always awkward, right? I wanna help but who knows where that money would go. Stopping by from SITS! :)

  12. I know exactly what you mean. I always wonder about that... are they really homeless or is it an act? Will they use the money for food and shelter or will it go to drugs and booze. Don't feel bad, it is a valid concer, sadly.

    Thanks for the post SITSta!


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