“Could You Spare $5?”

On Saturday night a young person, perhaps 14 years old, walked up to me and asked me if there were any way I could give him $5. I had been standing in the corner of busy pizza parlor at the time, finishing up a slice, and thought, This kid wants to get some pizza. Ok! I have no problem parting with $5 right now and will give it to him.

The kid said, “Oh wow, I just want to tell you that everyone else in here didn’t even look at me or give me a chance, so thank you.” And then he left. He wasn’t going to use the money for pizza.

Growing up, my mother always cautioned against giving money to strangers because you don’t know what they’re going to do with it. “If you want to give, donate to a place where you know your money will be used for a good cause,” she’d say. Yes, I do that, but that’s never stopped me from giving money to buskers or random strangers, and although I don’t always give, I felt compelled to do it at that moment.

Maybe he used the money to buy a subway pass—who knows. Or for something terrible! I just know that if I were 14 and in a position where I needed $5 badly enough that I would approach a bunch of strangers for it, I would hope someone would look at me and give me a chance.

Photo: numuneko.jc

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