On the way back from the shops yesterday a man stopped me by the bus station and asked if I could help him. He was Polish or Lithuanian I think. He wanted 70p for a bus to Taunton. So, not really thinking about it, I had a look in my purse. I didn't have 70p so I gave him a tenner. He looked a bit shocked but I said that if he needed to get there he needed the money so he should take it. Anyway he asked where I lived so he could give it back. Deciding I'd rather do with the money than have some strange bloke knocking on the door I said it didn't matter. However he told me where he lived and it turned out that he lives in one of the new flats at the end of our street! So I may well get the money back. Which will be a bonus.
Now I think that I did the right thing. if he chooses to spend it on something other than a bus ticket that is up to him. I can spare £10 atm. No-one in my family is starving, naked or homeless. So why do I have this sneaking feeling of guilt? Why do I feel that I've been had? And why does it matter if I have been?
Please tell me I'm not the only one who would have done this.
I have been haunted for a few years by the memory of not helping someone. A Big Issue seller who started talking about DS#2 when I bought a copy. She said her little boy was a similar age. Then she looked at me and said that she had no money to buy him clothes. I did the usual embarrassed shuffling off thing. And then had another think, went and took some money from the ATM and went back to find her. She'd gone and I felt so bad. She needed the money more than i did and because I felt embarrassed I didn't help her. She had a Middle-Eastern accent (iykwim) and in Muslim dress - I wondered if she was here because of awful things happening back home - and I didn't help her. That sticks in my mind
I haven't told DH as I suspect he will think I'm a loon. But I may have to otherwise when/if the bloke brings the money back I think DH will be a bit bemused to have some man telling him that his wife have him a tenner in the bus station