I had had a crappy day at work and was from doing my shopping when I see this man on the street from the corner of my eye. His leg was broken at a really weird angle – I wonder what had happened to him. He obviously couldn’t walk. He was begging for money on the street. He wasn’t doing it as aggressively as others usually do, and I guess that’s why I had initially passed by him.
Something about the nature of his fracture caught my eye and I couldn’t just walk away from him. I gave him a small note of my change from my shopping and walked off.
As I entered a bakery, my last stop, some guy (weird dude, I’d say) stops me with an annoying grin and asks me what the word “disability” means. I initially didn’t get where he was going with his question, and I just stared at him with an impatient frown.
I suppose he wasn’t as patient either for he went on to explain to me what a disability was before I could respond. He told me it was mostly a mental thing and not physical.
“Disability is all in the mind,” he finished off pointing to his head. He then smiled at me one more time like someone who had just concluded the most powerful sermon. I can say, that was the most painful two minutes of my day.
Okay, I know we all have different views about what to do with beggars and homeless people, but where one decides to spend their cash is totally their business. And, all controversy aside, the only way you can say a disability is all in the mind and mean it is if you don’t have one, don’t know a disabled person up close or run an NGO that profits off disabled people.
As lame as it sounds, at the top of my list of fears is being indisposed and having to rely on people to dress me, feed me or take me places. Seeing people that can’t do much for themselves sort of reminds me of how lucky I am to be on my two feet and makes me grateful for all I have.
Seeing that crippled man made me forget how crappy my day had been, however selfish that sounds. I gave him money more for myself than him. Yes, I thought of his struggles – how hard it must be for him to find any sort of employment or start-up capital for anything – but it was more about what I felt at the time that I decided to give him that note.
Now when that nosy man told me to encourage that guy to work instead of begging, I couldn’t excuse his rude intrusion. Now I really wish my response to him had been something like,
“Kind SIR whose job is to evade beggars’ privacy, please do the more sensible things and give the poor man a job – I can imagine they are that easy for you to come by.” And, I would flash him ‘my smile’ that I only save for people like him, and walk away.