The Cardboard Sign

“POOR FAMILY,

NEEDS HELP.”

You see this cardboard sign being held by a woman on the corner of a highway and a crossing to a busy shopping area.

What do you do?

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Me?

I did nothing.  For many reasons.  There was no way to stop and talk to her.  There was no where to pull over.  I didn’t have time to react as we drove quickly by and I just caught the sign’s words as we drove by.     She was not in a location that was convenient for anyone to stop and actually offer her assistance.  I’m not sure of her reasoning for her location.  I don’t offer this as an excuse…it just seemed odd.  When I first glanced at her I thought she was one of those sign holders for “GOLD PURCHASED HERE” or one of the “BUSINESS CLOSEOUT” sign holders.   As we went by I saw her handmade sign too late.

What could I have done?

I could have asked the driver to drive back and try to find a way to get to her.   I know of many many resources in our community for her and her family.  I happen to live in a community that is very proactive in helping those who need food, shelter, clothing.  This world is full of very good people willing to assist.   I could have told her where to go and get help.  In addition to that kind of assistance there is also a resource in our community that offers help in finding jobs, doing resume’s, prepping people for interviews, even getting appropriate clothes for interviews.   I could have told her how to get food from pantries, free meals (every day in our community).

I could have given her money.  I am relatively generous with what I have.  Whether it is one dollar or twenty.  If I have it and see someone in need, I have given before and will give again.   But even at that I would have literally had to throw it at her for her to get it.  Unless we were stopped at a light and we were stopped relative close to her.

I could have averted my eyes.  But I didn’t.  I wanted to know what her sign said.  Now it bothers me.

I could have gone to a grocery store, purchased a gift card, and taken a chance she would be there when I got back.

I didn’t do any of the things I could have done.  I believe in helping one another.   I have been helped in my life time.   I have helped in my life time.  We do live in a give and take world.  I always felt better giving than I did receiving (though this always feels like the blessing it is).

Did I fail her.  Or did I fail in who I want to be.

For some reason, I didn’t do anything.   Now I wonder if it was something about her.

Or something about me.