Getting To The Meat Of This Homeless Issue

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 26, 2018

Until I met my husband — a much more jaded person than I — my attitude when encountering a street person begging was: If they need it so much they’re begging for it, then they’re in a worse position than I am, and I’ll give it to them. I don’t care if it makes me a sucker, and I don’t care what they use it for.

I will never forget one birthday with him. At my request we went to a vegan restaurant in Portland, Oregon, where I was prepared to be dazzled by the food. I am a vegetarian; he is not.

It turned out to be not all that. The food was really greasy, and I couldn’t understand why it was so freaking popular, but we boxed up the expensive leftovers to go and headed back home.

We knew there would be a lot of street people on our way home, and hatched a plan to give the leftovers away, hopefully to salvage what was left of my birthday by doing something good, at least. But we didn’t see anybody begging for food in Oregon, and when we crossed over the border back to Washington, we were keeping a watchful eye out.

Finally, on one street corner, there was an apparently homeless teenager looking for handouts. We approached him and offered him the leftovers. He looked a bit wary and sad when he said, “I’m a vegetarian.” (For anyone who’s not a vegetarian, that may sound petty; like, “Well, if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it!” But as a nearly lifelong vegetarian myself, I can tell you: No, we won’t.)

I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard that. I told him, “It’s from [Restaurant]. It’s vegan!” I felt like the Universe had ordained this entire incident, and in our rear-view mirror we could see him eating out of the box as he walked away.

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