I'm here on a Saturday, supposedly writing my report cards. Obviously, that's not happening at the moment... I heard some noise from outside my office window and spied a man lying face down on the dumpster, with his arm squeezed into the opening. He'd managed to root out a couple of juice boxes and some empty water bottles, and was searching for more. I watched for a little bit, feeling stricken. What does it take for a person to abandon his dignity and go searching through garbage, looking for bits that will bring him 5 or 10 cents? We have lots of homeless people in Vancouver, but I don't always see them in action right outside my window.
I went out to the door and asked if he'd had much luck. We chatted for a minute, and I gave him $5.00. I felt badly that he wasn't able to find much in our garbage. I'm so conflicted about what to do - to give money, or not? Guilt won over today.
He told me that he usually "pans" outside the 7Eleven (a convenience store chain). In his French Canadian accent, he said, "I normally ask the dudes for money, not the ladies. But I get more money that way from the ladies than I do from the dudes."