Musings & Threads. That Could Be You or Me.
That Could Be You or Me
I was just outside Chicagoland on my way across the country when I met him. He looked just like someone we might know, someone we might work with, someone we might see at our local store, someone who might live next door. Only thing is, he was asking for money. He asked for it very politely, but we there at the time shunned him just the same. You know, it’s what we always do, maybe look the other way and pretend not to notice, or maybe scurry past him quickly or maybe just out and out say no.
Isn’t it funny how we never stop to ask what’s wrong, how we could really help, or even just listen to his story? We never think he’s looking for a hand up, we assume he only wants a hand out. We are so quick to dismiss him that we never stop to think that with just a turn of bad luck or one poor choice it could be you or me standing there instead. Why are we so quick to think he is asking for money just because he is too lazy to work, or for a million other seemingly good reasons that can cross our minds and remove us from any felt responsibility to help him?
The fact is most of “those people” have backstories, one different from every other, but every path leads to the same place, publicly asking for help. Like the one I passed right by in our country’s heartland. Had I stopped to ask I would have found out that not too long ago he had a great job with a bright future. But then his wife got sick and the bills piled up and even with his good salary they were struggling to make it. His wife would never work again and he would have to spend much time taking care of her, so much time in fact that he lost his job and shortly before he lost his home, he lost his wife. He had no job and no home and having neither made it nearly impossible to get either again.
If I had stopped to hear his story, I might have found the perfect candidate for an open position our company had not been able to fill for months and months. What’s more, I would have seen that he could have been you or me, temporarily needing a hand up until he could get both of his back to work. I don’t know about you, but next time I see someone asking for help I’ll remember the man outside Chicagoland needing a little help getting back on his feet, because one day, that could be you or me.