An example of how we should act as people, and an example of how we shouldn’t

by Jeff Hilimire on July 23, 2014

This is how we should act as people:

And this is how we shouldn’t:

Recently I was stopped at a stop light near my house and I saw a homeless man holding up a sign that he was hungry. I waived him over to my car so that I could give him the cash that I had on hand, sadly only $8. When the man was about 15 feet from my car, the light turned green. I decided to wait as he quickly made his way to me.

The guy driving the car behind me became irate, honking and yelling. The homeless man tried to pick up his pace as he made his way to my car. After handing him the money, I proceeded to drive away and as soon as the guy behind me could, he swerved around me and made some exciting gestures with his hands, I assume in the hope of inspiring me to be more thoughtful of the drivers behind me.

So this guy, who has a car, and a home, and presumably a very satisfying life, would rather the homeless man I was giving money to NOT EAT THAT NIGHT so that he could be home 15 seconds faster. To his actual home. Very different from the bridge that the homeless man would sleep under that night.

Is this really the world we live in? Where we aren’t willing to endure a brief moment of inconvenience – 15 seconds in this case – to help those that are significantly less fortunate than us? That we can’t put ourselves in someone else’s shoes for even a second to show the slightest bit of empathy for them?

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