I just got some straight wisdom dropped on me by a man in the street.
I was leaving a café and unlocking my bicycle when I was approached by a man I assumed to be unhoused.
He asked me:
"Care to share?"
Accustomed to being asked for money on the daily, I politely responded with "Sorry, I don't have any change on me," as I attempted to distance myself from the man.
"It's not a limiting question," he calmly answered as he biked away.
I stood there on the street, letting that sink in and wondered if it had the same stopping power on a woman standing next to me.
He was right. Even if I didn't have money or food on me, that doesn't mean I couldn't have offered the olive branch of conversation or asked him how I might help him out.
It pains me that this was my initial reaction to another human being and I'm glad I was called out on it. Too often we see people who don't have material possessions as inferior, a nuisance or simply not worth our time. True understanding is that everyone has something to teach us and deserves respect.