CURRENTLY READING:The Supernova Era by Liu Cixin

13 May 2014

Afraid of helping


When I think of how my brother has the ability to be-friend homeless people by simply inviting them for a meal and sharing a conversation, I feel both proud and ashamed. I try my best to stop for those who ask for help. If they ask for money I usually don't give, as I only carry my bank card with me and no cash. Here I share with you 3 stories.

Once at a station a man stop me on my way back from work, he was being ignored by many because he was simply asking for 10 cents in order to complete his needed amount for a ticket. Ten cents. I gave it to him, his eyes filled with gratitude and my heart with sadness. Thinking about how he would have been on his way home already if people would have just stop and listen for five seconds to his request. It was a full station anyway, with plenty of police, so why ignore him?

Another time I was biking at 6am towards the station to start my daily routine. It was winter, so 6am was dark. A man asked for help, I stopped after seeing how the first person ignored him, but then when he explained what he needed I had to flee. In this case I did put myself at risk, being a dark empty street. His image and his lips over my hand haunted me for the rest of the day, it was a close call I do not wish to repeat and I learned my lesson as to where and when to stop to help.

The last memory I have is related to this video. I was walking with my boyfriend in daylight. A man was asking for help, again being ignored. He was not badly dressed, not at all. But then again so was the man whom I had to flee. And this stirred our consciousness for the rest for the day. Perhaps it was a simple question about direction, or which tram to take. And yet our instinct reaction was "no, sorry." While he simply asked, "may I ask you something?" In this country this question equals, "can I have some money?". But then my boyfriend kept looking back to see if he sees the man again, feeling guilty. Why didn't we stop to listen? Why were we so sacred in such a society that is safer than most, in daylight where people are everywhere? What makes us so scared of cries of help. It really doesn't matter in the end how they are dressed, but the way they approach you and their intentions. It makes me wonder how many more I've turned away who truly needed help. Though I can recall the times I did help, and wonder why didn’t I do it more often.

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