Christopher tm Herdt (cherdt) wrote,
Christopher tm Herdt

No man should begrudge another a single nickel

Yesterday, in the rain, a man asked me for a nickel. He said he was a nickel shy of bus fare. He said he was trying to get back to the shelter. He showed me the rest of the change in his hand.

No man should begrudge another a single nickel, I thought, so I reached into my pocket for a nickel. I realized that I had no change on me at all. Yet, by stopping and reaching into my pocket, I had in some sense already prepared myself to help this guy out.

It was like the time a guy asked me for change, anything at all, even a single penny. I was wearing my Santa hat, and it was Christmas day—how could I refuse? All I had on me, coins and bills combined, after I checked every pocket, was 4 measly cents. He seemed irritated even though I had given him everything I had on me. He'd wanted to help, and I'd wanted to help out. We both ended that transaction feeling disappointed.

So I wanted to help this guy out, but I didn't even have a nickel. Do you have a dollar, he said? I'll give you 95 cents for a dollar.

I did have a dollar. He prepared to give me his 95 cents, but how can you take change from a guy staying in a homeless shelter? I told him to keep the dollar.

And that is how I gave away a dollar, something I wouldn't normally do.

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