TED Conversations

Zachary Tyler

This conversation is closed.

Social Class Interactions: To Pity or To Revile.

This morning, I had trouble staying asleep. I decided to go out to my local Dunkin Doughnuts to pick up some breakfast for my family.

On my drive there, I passed an abandoned bar and outside the vacant drinking hole was a shaggy man in raggedy clothes, still sleeping next to his Target cart full of plastic bags. Normally, I don't see many homeless people in my suburban community. Many of my peers look down upon the homeless; I actually witnessed a friend (now, ex-friend) spit on a sleeping homeless man while on vacation after screaming "Get a job, you bum!"

I went inside the Dunkin Doughnuts and picked up five muffins and a small coffee. I had asked the cashier for some milk packets and sugar. I proceeded to drive of the spot where the man had made his night's sleep. He woke up once he heard my car. I looked at him as I stepped out of my car and placed the coffee, along with some milk and sugar, next to him. He looked into my eyes and said, "God bless you, sir." I smiled and wished him a good day.

This small interaction made me think about what I had really done. Had I given that man his morning jolt so he could go try and find a job? Had I given him a free handout that he would ignore?

Therefore, I put my hands out open to you, the TED community, in sharing your views on what I did.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 27 2012: I have often thought that we should try to teach a man to fish. However, to you question, maybe you gave him hope. I would think that would be the greatest gift as he may not have had much of that at his present situation. You willing to give of your time to do this speaks volumes of you as a person. Maybe if we all did these kinds of spontanious deeds we would have a world we might actually like. Hopelessness is a death of a soul and unfortunately we have all had a short time we might have felt this feeling. I wonder what would be a long time solution for those of feel it more often than not.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.