Trying to avoid being a Lady Bountiful
November 20, 2007 10:17 AM Subscribe
Is it condescending to give money and/or food to a homeless person when the haven't actually asked for it?
posted by Jess the Mess to Human Relations (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So, as I was walking home this morning in the gray drizzle I noticed a man sitting under my el station, on a piece of cardboard with his dog, listening to a radio. I have never seen this guy before and there aren't all that many homeless people in my neighborhood.
I sort of smiled at the guy as I walked past, as I normally do to people with cute dogs, and he smiled back at me in a friendly way but made no attempt to engage me in conversation. He definitely wasn't leering at me or trying to get me to come over or anything.
I don't usually give money to homeless people who aren't Streetwise vendors but I'm a sucker for animals and in my mind anyone who's a friend of animals is a friend of mine (and it was clear his dog was well-taken care of). I know it would just be a band-aid solution (and yes I have volunteered at homeless shelters before) but I would like to help this guy and his dog out a bit. However, I don't want to be an insulting asshole since he didn't actually ask me for money.
Do you think I should attempt this or mind my own? For what it's worth, the area where he is is safe and well-lighted with plenty of people passing through, so on the off chance he turned out to be a psycho I think I'd be okay.