Okay, here’s where I admit that my ideas are often good ones — so long as I follow through on them. The idea in question being to keep spare change in my pocket at all times, for easy access to good-deedery — anything from tipping buskers to giving to sidewalk charity collections.
The reason I came up with this idea in the first place (inspired by my Girl Guide training to “Be Prepared”) was that I often walked on by buskers or street people for the sole reason that it felt awkward and scary to stand on a downtown street and pull out my wallet in front of everyone. Like offering an open invite to rookie purse-snatchers.
If only I’d followed through on that idea today, I would have been ready and prepared when a heavy-set swarthy guy approached me outside the subway. He popped out of the shadows and startled me by marching straight for me and stopping mere inches from my face. I could smell cigarettes. And burnt leaves.
He was holding two pennies and rushed out a desperate story of trying to rustle up transit fare. He’d asked 30 people, he said. Had lost his job, he said. Had been kicked out of his parent’s place, he said.
As his speech grew more frantic and he loomed over me, I fumbled as fast as I could through my wallet in the bottom of my bag. “Sure,” I told him, “it’s tough, I know someone in the same situation.” Which I do.
He stepped back and I managed to find enough for a few fares. He thanked me several times and I wished him luck as he disappeared back into the shadows. I know he wasn’t trying to scare me, he’s the one who looked terrified, but yet scared I was.
Note to self, check those pockets ….