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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: The dilemma

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The dilemma

I thought about the humiliation that he may be feeling from needing to beg in the street.
I thought about the fear he may have about being caught by police.
I wanted to reassure the guy that there is help for people in such a position.

All those thoughts listed above are based on thoughts and feeling I've heard expressed by folk that I've supported in the last 6 years or so that I've worked with supporting the vulnerable. To a great extent, today's encounter took me back to a similar occasion some 6 years ago when I was returning home from work in London on the train when a young disheveled guy approach me with the same question. Those of you that have followed my blogs back in the days of Yahoo 360 may recall me writing about it. That encounter had a massive impact upon me. I could not give him anything and that lad, all those years ago, broke down in front of me. I spent 20 minutes speaking with him and he thanked me for listening. In those days, I had no advice to offer, but it played a very large part in leading me to do the work I do now.

Returning to today, I didn't approach the guy again. That was due to some of my own fear. There is always of course a degree of risk involved. I guess he may have sensed that I watched him from afar and likely ensured that I didn't have the opportunity to approach him again. To have given the lad some loose change would simply have been to collude with him, thereby allowing him to continue to be dependant upon begging in the street and possibly dependant upon a substance misuse.

Reflecting upon this, I guess there is a part of me that wishes I had been a bit more aware when he first approached me. Maybe I could have spent some talking and listening and, unlike that encounter 6 years ago, offered some practical advice. I wonder what other that were approached thought and felt. Some I guess would have be disgusted, particularly if they became aware of the deception to obtain the money. Most folk would have had some sense of fear and some may have been filled with compassion. That's probably the most likely reason for handing over some loose change.
I ask you all, what would you have done? What thoughts does it bring to mind? It's an interesting subject and a continuous debate.

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