Living in Los Angeles, I see a lot of homeless people asking for food, sleeping on benches, begging in front of storefronts. Recently, I was walking into a coffee shop to get my post workout iced tea. A woman came up to me and asked if I’d buy her something to eat. I was a little caught off guard but agreed.
I got her a foot long sub from Subway and then went into the coffee shop. A group of guys were laughing and looking at me, which made me feel uneasy. One of them, a tall lanky kid, walked over and said, “we’re not laughing at you. We’re laughing because that woman has been out there for at least an hour and she has gotten two sandwiches, about seventeen dollars in cash, cookies, bags of chips and now your sandwich. She’s cleaning up. She scammed you.”
At first, I frowned and felt foolish. I was scammed. She’s not starving. If she got that much in an hour, I’m sure she’s fine. I don’t even make seventeen dollars an hour!
As I stood in line, I fumed over my gullibility. I was just freely giving stuff to someone who didn’t need it.
Then it hit me. Why does it matter? I mean, maybe she did scam me. How does that change the charity, love and kindness I extended?
‘What?’ you might be thinking. Let me explain. I did something out of kindness and love and even if she was a scammer, I still did it out of love. It doesn’t actually change the act and the vibrations I sent into the universe. It only changes the person I shared the act with.
You, again, might be thinking, ‘huh?’ My cynical friends will think this is crazy but what if the acts of love and charity all the people committed by giving to this woman changed something for her? What if she was a scammer and it changed her heart, changed her mind or perspective? What if it made her send me positive vibes, vibes of thanks? What if she wasn’t a scammer and it changed her mind to think that the world isn’t so bad? What if it gave her something that no one can pay for? What if it gave her hope?
To be able to potentially cause that kind of change in a single person, I’d rather spend the seven dollars and be laughed at then keep the money, save face and not create change in the world around me. But that’s just me.
Tania Baker writes about love, kindness and the adventures in her life while raising a daughter and working on film projects with her husband. She loves yoga, meditation, changing the world, helping others and naps. Currently, Tania is writing a book about her journey through 100 days of meditation. Follow her blog at taniabakerhui.wordpress.com. You can also find her on Twitter & IG.
Image courtesy of Nitish Meena.