The homeless and the needy in New York City are coming up with new and creative ideas to collect money. And I’m impressed. They’re helpful and friendly and quite free with the compliments! “I love your dress,” one man said to me, smiling as he shook his money-cup. “Be careful of that spot on the sidewalk up there or you’ll trip,” another man offered. And I keep seeing the same ones over and over since I’m staying in the same apartment for a few days; I’m getting to know the neighborhood and the neighbors. I like these guys.
While studying the map at the train station a guy came up and asked where we were going and then explained exactly how to get to our destination with his toothless-smile, looking us each straight in the eye. Wow. I liked this guy. I was impressed the train station/city employed such a helpful person to help lost tourists like us. And I was impressed with this man’s kindness.
We thanked him and started walking away when it dawned on me that he probably wasn’t an employee of the train station at all; something about it when we just said thanks and started walking away made me know the real situation. “What makes you so kind?” I asked him. He told us that he likes helping people and that he comes to this station on Sundays to help tourists. Then he added, “I’m homeless and I don’t like asking people for money so I’d rather help people instead.” All this he said while looking at us directly in the eye and smiling. I gave him some money and he shook my hand with a firm grip and thanked me sweetly. Wow. It stayed with me all day and will continue to do so. Plus he yelled to us, “That’s the 3, you want the 1 – – don’t get on that train!” Still offering help even as we were almost out of range! This man exuded kindness, politeness, humility and friendliness.
Another guy on the street did the same thing, helped us with directions when he could tell we were wandering aimlessly looking for something. Not having money we apologized we couldn’t give him anything and he shrugged and said he didn’t care. We thanked him for his kindness and he waved at us and walked away. Again, I’m super impressed. What’s happened to the pushiness of the needy in NYC? They’re just so darn nice.
I’ve gotten used to seeing some of these people at their regular corner on the streets we regularly walk and I look forward to seeing them each day. They greet me with a smile and a kind word every single time. They’ve become a happy part of my day.
I’m sad there’s homelessness and poverty and whatever other things are going on so that these people feel relegated to collect money from others. And I know any society can never rid itself from it. But if they’re going to do it anyway I’d rather have them do it like this.
To me it’s just another example of how kind and loving humans can be. There’s such great stuff happening around us if we just stop and notice.