Maybe you weren't homeless. Maybe I'm making a prejudicial mistake. But you certainly appeared it, and hungry to boot. It was one chilly evening last week, and perhaps you had your heart set on a cheesy bean and rice burrito, as did I.
As I approached the entrance, you stood like a guard at the door of Taco Bell, waiting for as cheerful a face as your own. You said, "Hello, Miss. Good Evening.", as I passed by, but I didn't breathe a word. I merely took a swift glance and smiled briefly. I've been greeted with such utterances many times in the city, and more often than not I've given a more than average charitable donation to a person in need. On that night, however, I put my blinders up and trudged through the wind that shimmied unsteadily alongside the building.
As I returned with my feedbag of not-even-close-to-Mexican fare, you remained stationed at your post, with a few possessions surrounding you. Once again, you greeted me. "Have a good night, Miss." I managed this time to smile as broadly as I could while a shudder of guilt waved through my bones. "You too, Sir." was all I could muster. I didn't open my wallet that night and dispense what I very well could have. And although I never truly know where the money would have ended up had I given you some, whether that be in the hands of a grocer or the hands of the local pub keeper, my suspicion and cynicism took over that night.
I'm sorry, Sir. My heart goes out to you, even when my wallet-induced instincts do not.
P.S. If I do happen to see you there again, I'll certainly make an attempt to make it up to you with perhaps a quesadilla.