Think before you judge

With Christmas fast approaching it once again puts me in a charitable state of mind. In a way it makes me feel bad that I don’t always go out of my way to help people but at least I am doing stuff now during the holidays.

For months I have seen a man sitting outside a strip mall with his dog. My assumption was the man ‎is homeless, hungry and cold. I was right.

From what I observed he isn’t one of those people who waits at red lights and approaches cars with a badly written sign asking for money. He’s not in your face. He’s not even asking people for things as they walk by. He’s counting on the kindness of strangers to help him.

The other day I was out with a colleague and she gave the man a look of disgust. She said, “I hate that. That is so irresponsible. Why have a dog if you can’t even take care of yourself?”

For a moment I agreed. Then I asked the man the next time I saw him.

I don’t recall his exact words so this isn’t a direct quote but it paints the picture: “When you have nothing, a dog is there to be your friend and give you a sense of security.”‎

He said the dog eats before he does. The dog is always by his side.‎ The dog doesn’t judge him. The dog makes him feel safe. The dog is happy to have some love.

I get it. People have a sense of security at their job, in their relationship, hell, even in their car. But he has no walls to protect him, no ‎routine to distract him from his daily life.

Coincidentally he is often sitting on the ground near a pet store and a grocery store so I make sure to go in and get them both something. Not because he asked and expected it, but because it is the right thing to do.

Take a moment this holiday season and help someone out.

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