The forgotten

by surrender884

We see them standing at corners of busy thoroughfares holding sign or a cup. Most people including myself would when waiting to proceed into traffic might not pay attention to them. Occasionally someone would pass a few dollars through the window to them. What do these people do with the cash given to them. If you hear it mentioned in conversation the usual guess is alcohol,  drugs and cigarettes. Now I see these people daily asking for a handout while performing my job. There came a day when I parked my vehicle off the street and approached one of these panhandlers. In a friendly gesture I asked if he was hungry. The answer came back as a yes. Seeing that there was no visible threat such as nervousness from him I said to him, walk with me then. So we meander back towards my vehicle in the tall grass. Without even asking he tells me that he panhandles instead of stealing. We reach my vehicle and I give him a piece of fruit and some peanut butter crackers. Instead of just leaving I decide to walk back to the corner with him. He tells me his story. The story is he has an injury from an on the job accident that has left him partially disable. Did I believe the story? Yes and why would I think differently ?Was I to judge him when my belief is to not place judgment on others? The way to actually  think is why are these people out on the street and not being cared for in the first place. To get back to his story I ask him where does he sleep at night. Under this bridge at a location I know of he tells me. He could go to one of the few shelters here in my city if they have an empty bed. That is not always possible because women with children are given beds first. Anyone else is turned away when they are full. See the problem? This country is making it almost impossible to offer assistance to the homeless.  My city is trying to pass an ordinance making it against the law to panhandle. They have erected signs in the downtown entertainment district telling people not to give to panhandlers. What has happened to us?