Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mis-steps in doing the right thing

Some of you know I collect cans and bottles from my family and friends. I do it to help Riley and his basketball team, and so far we've been able to avoid the second mortgage. Thanks for your help. Now I need y'all to drink some more. Just kidding. I have Carly, who is going to take the Olympic gold in pop drinking. You heard it here first.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I need to tell you I did something else with your can money last night. A good deed that left me feeling awful and questioning myself.

After returning my eight gazillion cans to Hy-Vee, I went to pick up some groceries before redeeming my receipts. I saw a man headed to the can redemption area. He was obviously down on his luck. Really thin, not the looking good kind, but the looking hungry kind. And his eyes looked so old.

I decided to give him the can receipts, about $15. Enough to buy a few hamburgers or whatever. I approached him and offered him what I had. He accepted and thanked me, adding something about being able to fix his bicycle tire now.

And here is where this story gets intersting. I saw it coming, but it was so fast I couldn't stop it. Before I could step aside, he was hugging me and kissing my forehead. And I was horrified. Partly because I'm not a hugger, but mostly because he was unclean and, I assume, homeless. I immediately went to the bathroom and washed my hands and face. Then I went home and took a shower, and entertained more than one thought about lice and disease.

And then I felt awful, total shame for that reaction. I'm not sure where that leaves me, but I've got some thinking to do.

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