From a reader who was kind enough to share this story.
When living in NYC I, like many others, was constantly bombarded by people asking for money, spare change, food if I happened to be carrying some. And like many I turned them all down.
I found myself working in mid-town for a year and on my way to the office each day I would pass a young homeless man just leaning again a non-descript building.
Nondescript man against a nondescript building not asking anyone for anything.
For the next six months I would give him $10, $5, $20, whatever I had with me, usually 2-3 days a week. On the days I had no cash I would buy him a sandwich and drink. It got to the point where I would ask him what he would like from deli and go get it.
He never said thank you, never bothered me if I was not able to give him anything. Other than the sandwich order we never spoke. To this day I wish I could have done more.
“To this day I wish I could have done more.” That’s the part of the story that gets to me almost as much as imagining this silent relationship in which the giver is asking for nothing in return.