Begging in America?

Today a man sitting on the sidewalk asked me to buy him something to eat. I refused him and as I walked away thought to myself that he looked pretty well-dressed to be begging.

But a few hours later I’m reflecting on it: the number of people in America who are living in poverty now (46.2 million in case you’re wondering). That’s more than one of every seven people! Who knows what might have happened to this guy? Maybe he lost his job, missed a couple of rent payments and was evicted. Or had a car accident and was hospitalized without insurance, and had to remortgage his house to pay the bills, and had his home foreclosed.

Or maybe he was trying to scam me. But in this economy, the odds seem to be stacked against that. I wish I had helped him out after all.

I am reminded of this idea from Mother Theresa:

Better to make mistakes in acts of kindness than to hope for a miracle in an act of unkindness.