I’ve given spare change to many panhandlers over the years — not everyone I pass, mind you. Some days I’m in a rush. Other times I don’t have any ready cash in my pocket. And, frankly, some of the people just plain scare me.
More often than not, however, it occurs to me that it could just as easily be me holding out that ball cap or paper cup.
And then today I saw a very unsettling sight. A young aboriginal man, no more than 17 or 18, sitting on the pavement, his hand outstretched, holding an empty cup.
He appeared lost and alone but stone cold sober. His eyes were clear and bright. And his tawny face wasn’t the weathered leathery roadmap of his older peers but smooth, almost glowing. But for how long, I couldn’t help wonder?
“Take care of yourself, young man,” I wanted to tell him. “Be safe.”
Instead, I placed my money in his cup, looked into his clear dark eyes and blurted out, “God bless you.”
I can still see his face….
P.S. Heard Stevie Wonder sing this today at MJ’s Memorial. Rest in peace, Michael.