Thoughts of a Chicana Feminist

Saturday, February 04, 2006

An Honest Man

I was at the mall on Friday evening. I was walking around, mostly window shopping, when a boy about 10 years old comes up to me and asks for a donation. He tells me his basketball team has a out-of-town game the next day. It is part of a larger competition and he needs to raise $200 before he gets on the bus.

I give money to people from time to time, but often I do not. I don't know if I have a strong criteria for who I give my spare change to....perhaps it doesn't matter.

The point of the story is that this little black boy with the face of an angel (and no parent or guardian near-by) is asking me for a donation to help him get on the bus with his team. I don't want to give him the money if he is scamming. It might lead him to believe that working is over-rated and hustling is a much more interesting endeavor. On the other hand, I don't want to punish him for being black, alone and short $73.

I looked the boy in the eye. I asked him, "Are you an honest man?" He looked me back in the eye and said, "Yes I am." That was enough for me. I gave him the $3.00 I had in my pocket and wished him luck. I hope he is, and pray that he continues to be. God knows there are not enough honest and kind people in this world.

I might have gotten scammed. I also might have given another person a bit of hope and encouragement to get through this difficult world. How do we really ever know? I wish there was a way....