Will work for food…

It was mid afternoon. I left the store. Began to drive toward the main route. Stopped at the traffic light.  There stood a man. He was old. Standing on a corner with a sign. WILL WORK FOR FOOD He was just standing there. He was not looking at the cars. He was looking at the sky.

The light had changed. I began to drive. I began to think. If my father was still alive, he would have picked him up and brought him home. He would have given him a job. That was my father. Make him work for his food, in a kind, never condescending way. I on the other hand could not. I have no home that belongs to me… my family remains in my fathers house, yet it is not the same. In a moment I pulled an illegal U turn and turned around. I stopped the car and jumped out. I gave him some money. “I can not give you a job, but lunch is on me…” He was thankful and kind. I could see he was damaged and tired… I saw his eyes for a brief moment… the the traffic began to complain… I said goodbye and ran to my car…  My legs were shaking… I felt the energy…

I felt the energy… I felt his Life, his dreams as I drove away. I imagined a young boy dreaming about his future. I felt the disappointment, the shame, the way Life can go ‘wrong’. I do not judge his mistakes, nor what left him on the corner begging to work for food. He is the judge. I do not know his story, nor would I try to imagine. There are reasons why things happen, reasons for the mysteries, reasons for the trouble, lessons to be learned…  I only can imagine the little boy this man once was… he must have dreamt… where are his dreams?


For now I leave this to you all to ponder… this weekend… think of your dreams, how lucky you are. This is one man, one lost dream. Now think of others… others who have yet to dream or lose. Pain, loss, suffering… indeed is relative to the person or situation. You can not gage another’s capacity for either empathy or apathy.

You can however think upon your dreams… to lose them, although not forever is as painful as sadness on the edge of reason. Would you work for food?  Shame is the ultimate sacrifice… then all that you wish will come true… Sacrifice once and all will be new… 

24 responses to “Will work for food…

  1. You were kind to go back and give him some money. A blessed soul.

    I do ponder about such people. I’ve seen them in town countless of times. I wondered how life once was to them. But as you said, they’re their own judges. Perhaps their dreams are still hovering within them but the light has dimmed over the years.

    As for my own dreams, I do realize that stuffs can happen because I let them and sometimes because I’ve never expected them to show up. Ah, to sacrifice one’s dignity when it seemed to be the end of the road is yes, a big sacrifice. Huge. And painful.

    I know because I’m a Leo.

    But as long as I breath, should misfortune befalls me, if I believed I could draw my dreams once more then perhaps, I will work for food hoping I could at least tear a bit of the misfortune away.

    So far, I’ve broken my royal pride and bowed to Love. It changed my life somehow. Now my neighbours think I’m so naive, being in love – just because I believe in it. Because I was touched by it.

    Thank you for the insight, Enreal. You sung to my soul once more.

    (((Glaize))) Naive? to be happy and at peace… is that naive? To be content with your place in this life… is that naive? I wish to be naive… I wish to bow to something greater than myself… break my pride, kneel before empathy and wait… wait for empathy to release… You know you are better off than thy neighbor… be you at peace and in solace…
    Glaize, you tapped into one message I wished to relay, Thank you…

  2. Dear enreal ,

    This is real . Almost each and everyone of us face it sometime or the
    other . Dreams break . Dreams turn into nightmares . Dreams
    disappear . Sometime or the other we have stood like that precious
    man waiting for someone to let him have the dignity of working for food .I think he is brave .
    I think his spirit is unbreakable . He still dreams . His dreams
    may be different . They will give him as much happiness when
    fulfilled . In any case , his resiliance will see him through his
    difficulties .
    You have been kind enough to spare him a thought and some much
    needed money .
    I think The man has risen above his situation . He is on the way to
    find a solution . Isn’t he a good teacher who sets an example ?
    Bless him .
    Bless you ,

    Love ,


    (((Akash)))… there is is. simple and eloquent. the essence of the human spirit. bless you my friend. for shining through the fog…

  3. Dear enreal, you have compassion and you are strong enough to show this feeling. This is a wonderful story of enreal who decides to help someone. Thank you.

    (((rainer))) thank you… for it is all of you who helped this man… my growth through your wisdom… you all lend an invisible hand to my soul…

  4. There’s an old saying….

    There, but for the Grace of God, go I.

    THANK YOU for stopping and offering some LOVE and SUPPORT to this angel. Jesus said that when we’ve done something ‘to the least of these, my brethen’, it is the same as doing it unto Him. I believe that.

    I believe that what you did for this elderly man, you did for yourself. You did for “God”.

    What a blessing. THANK YOU for sharing this today. It touched me.

    (((Grace)))… thank you for your light… and your important words… shall all who chose to listen… listen with not your ears… it is your soul which yearns

  5. Enreal: I do not know which country you live in and where this story is from.

    I have tried a few times in the UK. With people holding a similar sign or people simply begging. I have offered a car wash job for £ 5 + lunch; I have offered clearing out the front yard for £ 5 + lunch. Nobody even took it. I would say £5 is not bad money; the automated car wash without wax costs £ 7 or more. You know why nobody takes it? I am guessing the opportunity cost of missing the chance to make money by begging was probably too high. Do they really want to work? May be you want to ask next time?

    Some are homeless by chance, some by choice. In the UK, the latter is not a small number.

  6. I know several homeless people here in town, and I do not blame them at all for begging rather than working at the low paying jobs they could get. A homeless person can bring in as much as $75 or $100 tax free in a day of begging by the off-ramps. Compare that to $35 to $50 after taxes working as a dishwasher. At least in Colorado Springs, begging is often the best financial option for the poor.

  7. @ Paul:

    “At least in Colorado Springs, begging is often the best financial option for the poor.”

    This is also the main reason why women would rather drop out of the workforce than keep a mediocre career going. 🙂

  8. Shefaly and Paul… I understand your concerns on the poor and the homeless. While I may state wether by choice or fate I am sure they did not dream of this. This is not about what brought these people to beg… it is where there dreams have been placed…

    I was already ridiculed by my friend for giving this old man money… people automatically presume the worst about the homeless… think about your dreams now, imagine being homeless… that quieted my friend…

    It is not about the money… it is about the lost dream…

    Peace my friends

  9. Shefaly ,

    Isn’t it too simplistic way of looking at it ?
    To compare it to women dropping out of workforce is too
    fetched !
    What is the inference ?
    They are a special species who like begging ?
    They are in a position where begging is economically more
    profitable to working ?
    Women’s choosing to stay out of workforce is similar to
    choosing to beg in the streets ?
    It is foolish to sympathise with them ?
    It is foolish to pay them ?
    Any other ?
    I am trying to make sense of the essence of the argument .


  10. @ Enreal:

    There was a reason why I asked what country this story might be from. In benefits oriented countries/ welfare states, this can be reduced to a fairly simple equation. Can I get more from doing A versus doing B? In the UK, many homeless people sell a magazine called Big Issue which people buy from their regular seller. They have regular pitches and they work for a living. Sometimes one would also ask them if they would like a coffee and buy them one. I am sure that was not their dream but Big Issues gives them a chance to take steps towards realising their dreams.

    I have given a lot of time to helping people recreate those dreams. I worked as a mentor for the Prince’s Trust that helps young people realise these dreams. That all unfortunate people are not created equal was my experience. I am game for helping but are all game to be helped?

    “..think about your dreams now, imagine being homeless… that quieted my friend…”

    Sure you know about your friend 🙂 But it is hard for any of us to know other people and their circumstances, including the adverse ones that they overcame, right?

    (((Shefaly)))… You must walk a mile in his shoes… is that what you wish to imply… I understand…

    Sorry, I think I read the content but while I commend your spirit, I have a very different stance on problems of begging and homelessness. So I disagreed. :-/

    @ Akash:

    On re-reading my comment, I see I omitted the key bit in that comment – women WITH BABIES.

    Now hopefully it is clearer what I wanted to say. 🙂

    The argument at the base is simple – that in some contexts, people have a basic sense of economics which they use in making day-to-day decisions. So yes, begging and getting some benefits may be preferable to working in a low paid job (not diff from Paul’s argument actually). This line of thinking – economic reasoning – is also not a (far) fetched link with the women and career example. The latter is borne out both in research (see work of Sylvia Ann Hewlett) and in popular writing (e.g. Kate Figes’s Madonna And Child).

  11. @ Akash:

    Many of the chores of raising a baby – not the emotional responsibility – can be outsourced. However the cost of outsourcing in many cases is such that many women just drop out because the sums do not add up in favour of outsourcing. (I am not using the example of outsourcing to grandparents for apparently zero cost in monetary terms).

    I did not say that it is a ‘pure economic choice’. But economics _is_ a major factor for many. Something being contributory is not the same as its being causal.


  12. Shefaly ,

    Outsourcing of childrearing is quite intricately complex matter
    and has to be dealt in a nuanced way to take care of all unquantifiable
    risks and oppurtunity costs .

    The distinction between contributary and causal does put things
    in place .

    Thank you ,


  13. Peace everyone. Some people dream to not work; some people work for a dream; but it’s a sad soul whose dreams are long gone; too far out of reach to imagine; no desire to change the dream or ever reach again. But still we are all God’s children – with free will to work or not work or to give or not give and even to dream or not dream.

    Peace, Light and Love to you and yours,


    (((Cordie)))… I feel the love in your words… thank you for sharing a beautiful insight…

  14. @Dearest Enreal. I became so caught up in the comments that I had to go back to read the story once more. You said, “felt the energy… I felt his Life, his dreams as I drove away. I imagined a young boy dreaming about his future. I felt the disappointment, the shame, the way Life can go ‘wrong’.

    You my dearest angel tapped into his spirit. You felt his energy and acted accordingly. For that time and space – you were an angel. You were a blessing to him ; a blessing to the universe, and for that you will be blessed. He may have in fact even tapped into yours . . . Your genuine love may have well been able to awaken him from the night and enable him to once again dream, if only for a night. I do believe it is so. Beatitudes…..such is shown in your loving spirit!

    Peace, Light and Love to you and yours . . .

    (((Cordie)))… you honor me too greatly. Your words are beautiful if only somewhat true… You truly made me smile, your compliment is so powerful. I know not what to say… I suppose we are all blessings to one another… if we chose to be. You are a blessing to me…

  15. I have been that homeless , working for food, living in a shelter, or sleeping in a synagogue, I have been in multimillion dollar homes for breakfast and spoken with movers and shakers.
    We make decisions and we move from point A to B, there is nothing to be ashamed of in any choice we make. We made it , and we deal with it, we learn ,live and grow through it. Just like you stopping not to give work , but money and care. Your choice, with what that moment allowed you.
    Does that sound cold?
    I have lived to see bitterly unhappy wealthy people,
    and gloriously joyful poor people, it’s all perspective.
    for where your heart and your eyes are today…

    (((Sorrow))) you never sound cold… it is a matter of how we interpret your knowledge… to take hold and understand, question, and analyze. Or to judge and put off an uneasy topic…

    I understand, you are right… it is all perspective… one could always say that of life… every single situation… every single emotion… thank you… my eyes and heart are with you now… peace and light

  16. your prose is powerful. you speak from your experience in a poetic way that rings as real as the true experience. thank you for hearing me in my truths. thank you for sending me the “energy” you sent that man. i am drifting…much like him…in emotional homelessness. you continue to offer “lunch” and I am nourished by your kind observations and concern, as well as your beautiful words here.

    (((Aoede))) How I missed that sweet voice, you are indeed welcome always in my soul… I feel however, you are never emotionally homeless, you emotions are held in a fortress of light and strength… could you see? That light hidden in your words?

  17. I have felt the same tugs at my heart. Where I live they stand at the red lights of busy intersections. I do know of giving of them food and water and they do not like that..they want money. Usually, money to buy alcohol or drugs.
    Also, we just had a video on the news of a young man giving a homeless person money. Then the young man fell down having seizues..and the same homeless person picked his pockets.
    It broke my heart.
    We do not know what is in someones heart or what leads them to that place. We have to go with what is in ours.
    I think we each answer for our actions. You gave from your heart..what was in his…is his own to bear.
    Some of us are still unaware of the light within….reflections of each other we are.
    Your light shines dear one….

    (((Gypsy))) reflections of each other… your light shines on me… with me… I am blessed

  18. I read thru the post and all the comments, I post here an email forward. I know it has little relevance to this post, but the last line is a truth we all must live by.
    “As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will.
    You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it’s harder every time.
    You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.
    You’ll fight with your best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did.
    You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love.
    So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back.

    Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin! ”

    I believe Enreal’s feelings in helping the man was this. It is “her intention” in doing good and realising that the soul there must have travelled some path to land up atthe lace he is in now. The why’s and wherefore’s don’t matter as much as what “you” feel and you “do” at any given moment.

    One does’nt always find logic in life it’s turns.

    (((SOM)))… I was extremely moved by this… the words are perfect and ever so true… “you’ll eventually lose someone you love” Indeed… You can’t get time back… yet you can let it slip away…

    My friend, always an honor…

  19. That was very kind of you. I like the way you stated about how wrong his dreams must have gone. It could happen to any of us, just one wrong car accident, etc, and our lives as we know it changed, forever. At the place I am in my life, I find myself too scared to give money, but never a sandwich. That way, I know that it can be put to good use, and not perhaps wasted as I have seen so many times in the past.

    (((Ara))) Welcome! Thank you for sharing your light… I understand your views, to put faith in another is sometimes uncertain… lets go for it anyway… The truth in life will be revealed in time… all actions, all reasons from all around will be revealed… never judged, simply revealed…

  20. It was a nice thing you have done there. 🙂
    But Shefali has a point. It depends on which country and place you are in. I am not saying that do not help the poor ones, its just you should be able to decide who needs help in real. In some big cities in India, begging is a profession. You can get change for Rs. 500 note (and even Rs 1000) from some beggers if you know right place to ask for.

    Whatever touchy and pitiful condition a person is in, he always have a choice. You think what choices he can have!!!


    (((Suda))) Welcome!! You make an interesting point, my point is more focused around finding/losing/keeping dreams… Thank you for sharing your time here with me!

  21. i work (write) for food. just this week i decided to share two of my take-away boxes (hardly touched leftover from a restaurant lunch invite) to my thin cab driver. my family and i routinely share food with our neighbors, people who work for or help us, beggars, anyone who looks hungry, or even those who don’t. perhaps because we grew up poor and hungry. whatever the reason, we do what we do because it feels right for us.

    perhaps that poor man did what he thought was right for him at the time, and so did enreal. i suppose the man was praying while looking up at the sky? and so God blessed him with enreal. God bless you both.

    (((Ratedxtin)))… Welcome!! God Blesses us all… I suppose it is a matter of how we interpret the signals! Thank you for sharing here… It was a very nice thing to say. Thank you 🙂

  22. Blessed are you for the lighting example your father has been in your life. Blessed are you for caring, for taking action, for going beneath the surface. Thank you.

    (((Norea)))Blessed are you for sharing a kind heart and making my heart humble

  23. =) once again, my friend… we walk along, with similar feelings and thoughts… and actions… Thank you for pointing me to this. It was worth the read… and warmed my heart, just a little… even as I shiver for those still out on the corners…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s