The recent stories of Homeless Ted Williams, the Homeless American Idol contestant and the Homeless Fantasy Football winner, made me question how we treat them. Many days we walk down the street and a homeless person asks “can you spare some change?” We typically ignore or wave them away as though they are invisible.
But should we treat the homeless better? Will we give them more respect, now that Homeless Ted has put a face to them all? I truly hope so. Because they are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, grandmother or grandfather. They started as we all did, as a baby, then small child growing into an adult. They had a life at some point, probably working at a job, living in a house, sharing holidays with family and friends, contributing to society. And then something in their life changed, they snapped, or were put in this predicament due to job loss, mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or poverty. Although we all have choices in life, maybe something in their life was so difficult, they had no choice.
Does anyone really chose to be homeless? Living in the street, having to beg for a dollar? I’m sure none of them said during their childhood “I want to be homeless when I grow up”. Maybe we will now begin to treat them as another human being and look into their eyes, when we walk by them on a cold day begging on the street. Maybe we will be more generous and give them that spare change when they ask. Just maybe we will now be more sympathetic to them in the future, now that we know they have a face.
Treat the homeless better in the future, because we are all capable of living on the street in one quick flash of despair. As the photo says “Before you turn away put your face in my place”.
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