Wednesday, April 13, 2005
This evening as I was walking from my office building to the parking garage I encountered a man about my age but he had a bit of that homeless look to him. His clothes were dirty, though they weren't ragged and he looked as if he hadn't shaved in a week or so. Ordinarily I don't even make eye-contact with the panhandlers I meet on the street, but this guy was different. He walked toward me with confidence and a sense of purpose I don't often see. At first I didn't think he was a beggar at all, perhaps he just needed directions.
"Hey bud, I just need a little money, can you help me out?"
I just shook my head and started to open the door to the parking garage when he said, "C'mon man, I'm not going to lie to ya. I wanna buy another drink." That's when I noticed he was holding what appeared to be one of those large beer cans in a wrinkled, brown paper bag. I was struck by his directness and his manner. He had a sincere quality that made me hesitate. He was also close enough that I could smell the beer on his breath.
"Sorry." And I ducked into the garage. But he made me think about it for just a second. He was honest and direct and confident. I'm certain he got the money from someone else before I was even out of the garage.