I’d just finished work, it had been a big day. I’d spent the last hour talking with a drunk lady in the laneway who needed help moving and finding a new place to stay. I was walking up Bourke St on my way home via some bookshops when a beggar stopped me and asked for money. He said he needed some money to so he could a find place to stay that night.
I have a rather bad habit of not carrying any cash. I said “Sorry I don’t have anything on me.” For some reason I always want to show beggars my wallet to make them realise I’m not lying.
The man looked at me and said quite accusingly, “Yes you do. You just don’t want to. You and I both know that you could walk to an ATM and get out money right now. You just don’t want to.” He was right.
I remembered this man from a few days ago, I had given him $10 for the same reason. I fumbled out this explanation, but this did not satisfy him. “It’s people like you that make people like me steal and mug people. I don’t know how you sleep at night.” He was getting angrier and angrier by the minute. At this point I decided the best option was for me to keep walking. I said, “Look. Sorry, I just don’t have any cash on me. Good luck.” and continued to walk up the street, and ducked in to the bookshop I was going to. He continued to yell at me. The last thing I heard him call out to me was the C bomb...it rang out in my ears.
I felt pretty crap. He was so agro and aggressive. He was right I could get out money and probably not even notice that I’d given him some. This experience was such a contrast to the one I’d just had with the lady in the laneway. She was very appreciative and not demanding and not wanting to impose on anyone.
Homeless people are people. Just as some people are nice and others not so...
Could you blame this man’s agro? He’d probably been asking for money all day (or months for that matter) and had the same answer from anyone. He would of been frustrated watching people say they have no money then go and buy food or go into nice book shops like I did. People saying they have no money, but wearing nice clothes and holding nice bags.