Now I’m pissed. I’m not angry with this man for being homeless or poor. I’m angry at the whole damn system and the way things work in our world and the fact that I don’t have any money to give this guy.
"I’m sorry, but . . ."
As I turn towards him, I am at once aware of how broken and bankrupt his life seems. He probably hears "No" at least as many times as I have to say it. And how close to his life am I? I could be on the streets in a heartbeat. All it would take is for a few people to turn me away the same way I want to turn from this man. I want to tell him that his life, his story, his dilemma is less than mine and that I just really don’t have time for him right now. I can’t tell him the truth — that I don’t have any money. Why would he believe that? How many people walk around in $500 suits with no money in their pockets? He’s gonna think that I’m being cheap. And in the midst of this season of joy and brotherhood and fellowship, I’m about to make a homeless man feel more alone and unhappy.
But things are rarely what they seem.
"Hey man. . ."
He cuts me off before I can begin to disappoint him.
"I just got out of the hospital for diabetes and this woman gave me all these."
He opens up the plastic bag to reveal about a dozen or so Twix bars shining in gold wrappers.
"I can’t eat ’em," he says as he hands me the bag and smiles. "Happy holidays, brother."