Saturday, October 15, 2011

Did I help?

So this is the first of hopefully many blogs.  Was at a huge Cerner meeting in Kansas City and had the great fortune of seeing Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson @SeattleMamaDoc who spoke about physicians reaching out to the public rather than just waiting for them to come to us in an office visit.  So, I'm going to give it a try.  However, this blog has nothing to do with imparting medical advice.

So, I'm sitting in Panera this morning waiting for my daughter to get done with her drama class.  I'm feeling pretty good that I have a weekend to enjoy with my family, until I look over and see an obviously homeless man sitting in the corner trying not to be noticed.  I keep trying to do my work, but am haunted by the fact that I am enjoying a wonderful breakfast and some good coffee and he has nothing but a pad of paper in front of him.  I'm guessing he is trying to look as if he is doing something so he will blend in with everyone else doing work of some sort.

I want to go over and give him some money to get something to eat.  But, what if I'm wrong?  That would  be terribly insulting.  I wait a little longer.  Still, he's just sitting there.  Finally I can't take it and try to gently ask if he's eaten anything.  He looks into my eyes and shakes his head no.  I hand him a $10.00 bill (food can be expensive at Panera) and he thanks me.  I go and sit down, pleased that I could help him.  I watch him get up and then dash out the front door.  I just assumed he would get something at Panera.  Was he heading to McDonalds to stretch that money or worse, was he going to use it to get a bottle of liquor or a drug fix?  I now feel worse than I did before I approached him.  Did I just pay for his fix and enable his habit?  I'll never know, but I think I'll be more wary next time.

What do you think?


  1. Dear Sue,
    My husband was at the Cerner conference and told me about the Twitter doctor. Thank you for sharing yourself with the world. What do I think about this situation? Don't feel bad at all. Give as you are led to give. You grow when you are generous and learn compassion. This is what Jesus felt before he brought healing to many. God moves us to compassion and it is our responsibility to move when directed.
    In my experience, we aren't always moved. I just pray about when I should give and if I feel strongly, I do. When we respond, we have been obedient. Sometimes it is us who grows more than the recipient. I don't know if you are a Christian, but this has been an area I've been praying for wisdom about. I pray and just give when He moves me. It's not all the time- or I'd be broke- but it's sometimes. People do need more than money. Continue to be generous with your time and money as God leads you. He will use your generosity to bless many. Don't judge or worry about what they do with what you've given. - I'm a pretty bold Christian, so I've gone on to ask God what He wants me to say to people. Sometimes He just shows me who needs to know that God loves them. I tell them God told me to tell them and don't even always give money. Cash is spent but love goes on! You have taken a step in the right direction. God will use your gifts as you offer them. You have many ways to bless others. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Sue -

    I tend to be an optimist of sorts, but I have to believe that while he did not opt for Panera, he used your money for good and not bad... You'll worry yourself silly if you let yourself believe that you enabled an drug addiction.

    But, what I usually do is carry gift cards that I will give to those in need... This way, the purpose of your gift is well known.

    Happy Monday!