Yesterday I was at the corner of Church and Gerrard when a young woman approached me. “Can you spare some change – I really need it”. I was in a special mood so I declared enthusiastically, “You do, do you”?? She was taken aback by my tone and stared at me, despondent, almost expecting me to say something rude or sarcastic. A young woman who had just refused her froze two feet away and was listening intently. “Well I definitely CAN spare change” I said, and started to rummage through my bag. The girl closed her eyes for a second and in an emotional moment said, ‘omg I can’t believe you said yes… no one has said yes to me today”. I ended up giving her $5 which is a lot more than I normally give, but I just felt this connection to her – she seemed so vulnerable to me. She went on.. “no one wanted to help me”. I told her that I don’t believe that’s true… that people say no as a knee jerk reaction and that it’s not even a conscious decision half the time. I know this because it’s happened to me many times. I’m lost in thought or busy and I just say, “no sorry” and keep going before I realize I feel bad and should have helped. “People are conflicted… they are shy or nervous or uncomfortable… don’t take it personally” I said. As I walked away I noticed the young woman who had denied her earlier, walk back and hand her some change.
That made me feel great. Mission Accomplished!!!!