Wednesday, 29 September 2010

buying a homeless guy some new shoes

Busy day today.  As much as I love to write, some days go by with so much 'material' to choose from that I am sometimes left wondering what to share.  How to isolate my experience with a homeless guy, a woman working in a charity shop who was the least charitable person I have met for a long time, set against the backdrop of a busy homelife that revolves around a demanding teenager and his busy social whirl.

Walking past Sainsburys Supermarket, an old guy was wobbling, in his tramp trousers, unbuttoned shirt and shoes. 

Well, when I say shoes, he was wearing the frayed remnants of shoes that exposed his toes flapping in the wind.

I tried to walk past with a clear conscience.  No, couldn't do it...what to do? An elderly guy, in need of footwear,  standing in the cold, roughly 17 degrees.  Fortunately there is a charity shop over the road, I quickly nipped in and found one pair of shoes, a solid, brown, leather pair with the heels open.  Hmm, lets see, would a slip-on pair of leather mules be better than a worn out, tatty, toes open material pair?  I wasn't sure.  I explained to the woman behind the counter that I was planning to buy a pair of shoes for a tramp outside Sainsburys.

'well you can't have a refund if they are no good' she said, absolutely certain about the rules of the charity shop.

hm, okay, £3.00 for an old but functional pair of leather shoes that a tramp may or may not accept from me. Should I?  Yes, of course I should.  

The lady behind the counter said that I shouldn't be too concerned for the tramps because they have a lot of money spent on them.  'The government pays lots of money for their housing'.  She says.  'I know because I live down their road'.  I am sensing a distinct lack of compassion coming from the woman as she took my money and handed me a carrier bag holding the brown leather mules.

As I take the bag and head off out the door to find the tramp,  the lady suddenly appears to have a change of heart and she puts my £3.00 on the side of the till 'in case they are no good, you can bring them back and get your money back'  
'okay, thanks' I say and I head off back in the direction of the store, which now has even more people milling around, but no sign of the tramp.  I walk down the road, along a bit, back up.  No. I am going to have to return to the charity shop and ask for my money back.  Unfortunately this is to the satisfaction of the uncharitable charity shop worker who clearly thinks that even trying to help just makes me a wombat.  'Waste of Money, Brains and Time'.      Well, I tried, and if I see the guy again, I will try again.

Never giving up during a time of adversity; remembering there is always room to help someone worse off than yourself and I hope that maybe my attempt at compassion may encourage the charity shop woman to be a little more charitable in her ways.

Love and Light to all of you who need it x


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