My Conversation With A Homeless Guy

17 08 2011

Pearl Street Mall, 7pm

Scene: A 20-something guy with dreads, walking around with a sign reading “Homeless. This Sucks.”

I’m not usually a “toss a dollar” kind of person, so I want to know what this guy is about. I chat with Ayo for a minute and decide that I’ll go talk to the sign guy, and if his story is sympathetic I’ll give him a good amount of cash.

Me: Hey man, I’d love to help you out but can I ask you a question first?

Sign Guy: Sure.

Me: What are you doing to try and make your situation better?

Sign Guy: Well… [thinks for longer than he should have needed] I was thinking about checking myself into a psychiatric hospital so they can certify that I can’t work. And, um, I need to get around to applying for food stamps.

Me: What’s stopping you from applying for food stamps? I can probably find an organization here that can help you apply.

Sign Guy: Well, I’m an alcoholic. Can you spare a dollar, man?

Me: Sorry, dude. Not unless you’re doing something to improve your situation.

Sign Guy: I’ll be honest: I promise I’ll spend it on whiskey.

Me: I’ll be honest: I don’t want to fund your whiskey habit. Good luck.


posted by yair




6 responses

17 08 2011

At least you were both honest! It’s the people who hound me with obviously false stories you can tell they’ve repeated dozens of times who bother me more…

18 08 2011

I was thinking the same thing – at least he was an honest drunk. But I agree – don’t feed an addiction.

19 08 2011

Interesting blog post. I’m not saying you should have given him the dollar (necessarily), but I am pointing out the following:
Don’t you find it interesting that you’re less inclined to help someone who probably needs the most help? As in, the person who has it more together and would use the dollar toward something that would actually help him clearly has it together enough to know he has to help himself. This guy is far gone enough that he can’t help himself out of the situation – not because no resources/programs are available to him, but because he’s kind of given up on himself. Doesn’t that despair make him more in need of help? Maybe not monetary help, but help nonetheless….

21 08 2011

So, I’m a “have a buck/give a buck” sorta gal so keep that in mind. BUT, I firmly believe that all you can do is control you. You choose if you give the money, regardless on what it may be spent on. That part is beyond your control.
You chose not to give, and that’s cool. (Not everyone should be a bleeding heart like me.) I don’t agree with your reasoning though.
Next time our world collide we can discuss it. ๐Ÿ™‚

21 08 2011

Looking forward to it! Did you see my guy in Boulder, too? ๐Ÿ™‚

13 08 2013

Reblogged this on Growing Pains and Pleasures and commented:
A few thoughts:
1. His honesty made him deserve some help – if not a dollar, how about a burger.
2. A lot of the homeless guys are like him, it will be great to tell him some places which can help him quit excessive drinking

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