On Looking the Other Way
One morning last week, hunched over my steering wheel, I grumbled about all the things I was unhappy about. Because my life is just so awful. (I kid, I kid.) The exact moment my heat finally decided to blow warm air through my vents, I passed a bus stop bench supporting a man huddled in a sleeping bag. Nothing like seeing homelessness to smack the self-pity right out of me.
There aren’t too many homeless around these-here parts. At least not many I see. I felt immediate guilt for whining about my petty “problems” while this man had no warm place to rest his head. So I—wait for it—did nothing.
I did nothing.
I didn’t know what to do. I had no cash on me and not even enough in the bank to meet my own needs at the moment. I didn’t know the back-story to land him on the bench in the first place. He could’ve been a Carnie-turned-crack-dealer resting his head after a long night of sales. Or I could’ve interrupted some sort of male rite of passage. Not to mention the bus stop was in an unsavory part of town and not the wisest place for a girl without reinforcements.
So I drove to my destination and pushed the memory of him from my mind. I’m sure most people would say sometimes there’s nothing you can do. And maybe they’re right.
But what if they’re wrong?
Have you ever looked the other way at an obvious need? If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?