On July 13, 2009, I made the decision to go to McDonalds and buy eight McDouble’s for $8.56 (dang taxes). First off, because we live in America, and have corporations like McDonalds with a dollar menu, I was able to do this easily. The reason for this purchase? Everyday on my walk home I see numerous homeless people along the side of the road, shaking a plastic cup while begging for money. So I thought instead of giving money which can enable bad behavior, I would feed them.
I was marching along with my paper bag filled with McDouble’s when I saw my first donation. It was a woman holding out a small woven basket holding a sign that said “Give God.”
I was thinking, “This is great! Jesus gave people fish, and now I can give this woman a hamburger.” And by the way, I’m not very religious, and definitely wasn’t trying to be Jesus, but I know a little bit about the bible, this woman wanted God, so it made sense…right?
As I reached out with hamburger in hand to put in her basket, she quickly retreated, frantically asking me, “What are you doing?! Why are you giving me that?!”
“Well I’m trying to give you some food…you don’t want it?”
“No I don’t want it! You can’t give people food. When you give food I don’t know what’s in your heart.”
So then I walked away, completely in shock and perplexed that giving food to someone would result in someone “not knowing where my heart was,” when the man next to me who witnessed the entire ordeal said, “Well, you tried.”
But I was not discouraged by one woman who didn’t appreciate a gift so I looked for my next attempt, and I quickly found him.
He was a man holding a Vietnam vet sign, and I simply walked right up to him, handed him the burger, and quickly walked away before he could reject it.
Next I saw a man sitting on a ledge just outside of a store, and I walked over, gave him the food and started to walk away, slower this time because the giving was going more smoothly.
Then I heard a man yelling at me (well I assumed at me because I was the only one in Georgetown holding a big McDonald’s bag), “What! You aren’t gonna give me a burger?”
“Are you homeless?” (Totally not politically correct I know, but whatever) Then he kind of stuttered and said well yeah I’m homeless. (Pause while I’m looking at him like he’s lying) Then he looked to the man I had just given a burger to and said, “Come on man aren’t you going to tell her I’m homeless.” The poor guy just sat there, and then out of fear eventually spoke up and said, “Uhh yeah yeah, uh he’s homeless.” False!
At this point I was just getting irritated. This man demanding a hamburger that I bought for someone truly in need, was trying to get this poor man to lie on his behalf just so he could mooch off a free meal even though he clearly could afford it on his own.
“You have a Starbucks cup in your hand, I don’t think you’re homeless,” and then I continued on my way thinking I was free to go but no, this hippie woman who had obviously been watching the whole thing, walks up to me and says “Did you give that other man a burger…?” She said in a guilt trip tone, like I was wrong for only giving one burger to the man who actually was homeless and who actually needed it! So I told her that I didn’t give him one because he was clearly not homeless and she got this irritated, you’re a bad person look on her face while the entire time I’m thinking, “Look lady, you probably hate McDonald’s because it’s a corporation and now you hate me for not giving the moocher a burger, but I don’t see you walking around Georgetown (one of the snootiest places in the country) with a McDonald’s bag!”
The rest of the distributing went well; with one man staring at me for an awkward three seconds before he accepted in disbelief that someone actually cared to say hi nonetheless give him food.
My burger adventure ended with a group of three men thanking me over and over again and saying, “God bless you, that’s really nice, keep up the good work.”
In the end it all paid off. I’m going to do it again.
It definitely gave me more perspective on different types of people and myself. You never know how people are going to react, even to acts of kindness.