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Onto Every Sandwich, Some Judgement Must Fall

, , , , , , , | Working | September 30, 2020

Homeless Guy: “Spare some change?”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t carry cash.”

Homeless Guy: “What about food, then?”

Me: “Well, I was about to go to the sub shop across the street.”

The homeless guy gives a long, complicated order about a specific sandwich.

Me: “I can’t remember all that.”

Instead, I gesture toward the shop.

Homeless Guy: “Are you inviting me?”

I gesture again and he gets up.

We get in there and he repeats the oddly specific order, but even more specific this time.

Homeless Guy: *To me* “Can I get extra meat on that?”

Me: “Sure.”

Homeless Guy: *To the clerk* “Extra meat, too, please.”

Then, he turns back to me.

Homeless Guy: “May I please get a bag of chips?”

Me: “Normally, I’d say yes, but it’s toward the end of the month and I’m on a fixed income, so I only have just enough money to buy two sandwiches.”

Homeless Guy: “No problem. I understand. Thank you so much for the sandwich.”

He gets his sandwich, starts eating the first six inches, and then rewraps the last six inches and goes out the door.

Meanwhile, the clerk is making my sandwich. The homeless guy has already left the shop. After the clerk is done:

Clerk: “I know it’s none of my business, and your heart is in the right place, but the homeless people here eat better than I do. This is his third sandwich today.”

Me: “Him specifically? Three times, today?”

Clerk: “Well… there were a lot of homeless people being fed, and I don’t know if he, specifically, actually had three sandwiches.”

Me: “Okay, then don’t make accusations. I have a couple of good friends who either used to be or are currently homeless.”

He hands me my sandwich.

Clerk: “That’ll be $5.48, unless you want drinks. Do you?”

I think quickly about this. That price is for a single footlong, which means he is not charging me for the homeless guy’s food, so I now have a surplus of money in my account.

Me: “Yes, thank you. I’ll have one of this size.”

And I pointed to the smallest paper cup they had. I wanted to get out of there before he realized he hadn’t charged me for the homeless guy’s sandwich, so I sat at a booth out of his sight and ate my sandwich really quickly, drank my soda, got a free refill, and left.

In retrospect, and after relaying the story to one of the aforementioned formerly homeless friends of mine, I’m wondering if what happened was that I unintentionally guilt-tripped the clerk and he deliberately “forgot” to charge me for the homeless guy’s sandwich.