Yesterday at noon, I decided to treat myself to a nice (gluttonous) Easter brunch by picking up some ready-made food at the gourmet market, Bristol Farms. I ordered honey glazed ham, wild mushroom risotto, scalloped potatoes, spring veggie sauté, duck pâté and an easter egg cake.
Since it was a beautiful day, I decided to walk to the store. As I approached the parking lot, I noticed a homeless man sitting underneath a tree, looking down. I hesitated -- "Should I give him some money? No, he might use it to buy drugs. Besides, he hasn't asked and he doesn't have a sign asking for money." I decided to ignore him and go on with my day.
After I purchased my brunch, it gnawed on me that it's Easter. "Should I go back into the store to pick up something to eat for the man? Nah. Just go home and enjoy your gourmet meal."
As I kept walking, it still bothered me. "It's Easter, for cryin' out loud!" I was now in front of McDonald's. "Oh, what the heck. I'll get him a burger, fries and a bottle of water."
But by the time I got back to the area where I first spotted him, he was gone. I guess he was just resting a bit before he moved on. I also noticed there were several police cars patrolling the area and perhaps that spooked him.
I returned home and ate the quarter-pounder with cheese and fries that I intended to give to the homeless man instead of my Easter brunch. Re-enacting the whole scenario in my mind, I can't help but to feel that I've failed -- On a day where Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection after he made the ultimate sacrifice, I couldn't spare an ounce of benevolence to a fellow human being when given the opportunity.
Should I have offered him some money? Should I have asked him if he wanted something to eat? Was I being cheap by getting him food from McDonald's rather than from Bristol Farms?
Although I'm ashamed of what took place (or didn't), I'm still not sure how I should deal with homeless people in my neighborhood. I'm conflicted.