Indignation…and Shame

I suppose it makes sense that strong emotions propel one to write. Today I am feeling indignant. Well, really, it was two days ago, but I am trying to recapture the feeling to fully report. How people can be so utterly unfeeling, so callous and cruel to others is really unbelievable.

Liam and I were running errands, drop off the recycling at the local collection site (our apartment complex DOESN’T recycle — can you read my indignation at THAT ridiculous policy, but I digress), and then returning some clothing toward which Liam expressed some dislike (“too tight” — one of his favorite phrases about some pants) to the used children’s clothing store. On our way we were stopped at a light where there happened to be a man standing on the median holding a sign that read “Hungry. Anything helps.”

As we were sitting there, I was contemplating what I had with me. I typically don’t leave the house without a bevy of snacks for Liam, so I was thinking I could offer this guy a chia pouch and some pretzels. Then I got to thinking that the pretzels were in a reusuable bag (like this one — highly recommended), that I didn’t necessarily want to give away, and did I have a plastic bag in which I could put the pretzels, and before I had gotten far enough in my planning, the light changed and I felt compelled to move along, having utterly failed to offer the man any sustenance.

As I started pulling forward, the man got a glimmer in his eye and a smile on his face and started running toward the cars that had just begun moving. He wasn’t looking at me, but beyond me. I turned around to see a guy in a burgundy pick up truck holding his hand out his window. It was closed, as if holding change or some bills, and as he drove by, he made a big show of opening his hand up as if dropping the money on the ground.

Except there was no money. He wasn’t offering the hungry man anything but ridicule. He drove off with a smile on his face, having just had a good laugh. At the expense of a hungry person, hopeful for some help. The man on the median looked at the road, searching for the coins that could mean a meal. I shook my head at him to indicate there was nothing, ashamed that a person could be so heartless. And then I drove on, ashamed that I had not offered what I could.


4 thoughts on “Indignation…and Shame

  1. Okay, I hated to “like” this post because I felt the same indignation you did — my like is in support of you writing it and giving some dignity to the man who has so little. He will never know it; let’s hope there is some way it is sent to him 🙂


  2. I have just one question for you. Why didn’t you go back? After seeing the man subjected to a heartless, insensitive and cruel “joke”, why didn’t you go back? Certainly compassion for another human being has more value than a resealable plastic bag!


    1. Hi Steve, It’s a good question. One I don’t have a good answer to. And yes, of course, compassion to another human being has much more value than a resealable plastic bag. I’m ashamed I didn’t do what you so wisely advise. That would have been the complete right thing to do. I will try to do better.


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