Yesterday we were at the beach watching some beach volleyball and I see a homeless man laying in the sand.
We’ve seen him many times before, I always thought about saying something but I never have.
He struggles to walk, seems as though something is going on with his feet.
Given his feet issues, he also struggles to stand up.
As we stand there watching a game, he’s not far from us. And he begins to try and stand up. I consider not saying anything again, but reconsider and say to him, would you like some help?
He doesn’t slow from his struggle and replies,
“No, I’m just getting up, I don’t need any help, I’ve done it many times before and besides I didn’t ask for any help”.
A bit taken back, I say, ok no problem. Again he replies, I’m just standing up, see I can do it myself, is that okay with you?”.
I didn’t have much to say in reply, but I did see him glare at me when he finally reached his feet and began to waddle gingerly away.
Clearly offering help was an insult to him. It made him feel like less of a person that he thought I felt he needed help simply to get up.
It’s hard not to take offense to a situation like this. It’s even harder to offer help in the future to someone in his position that may appreciate the help, needed or not.
A mantra I’ve been repeating to myself over the last couple weeks is:
‘Give generously and expect nothing in return’.
This situation won’t deter me from asking someone else in the future if they need help, and regardless of if it may be insulting or not to offer help, I hope you might consider to give generously and expect nothing in return.
Together we can make this world a better place.