A few years ago during the Thanksgiving season I was in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle. At the time, Cap Hill was a gritty area with numerous street youth and others in difficult situations seeking money. I was walking into a Walgreens when I saw a guy with a white cane standing right next to the entrance. He was holding a Burger King cup at chest level. So I rooted in my pocket, found two quarters, and dropped them into the cup.
But I didn’t hear that clinking noise you’d expect.
“Hey!” the guy shouted, “What the fuck did you just drop in my Coke?”
My eyebrows raced up. I glanced at the ground. No sign, nothing. Just the feet of a person hanging around, like everyone else.
I apologized effusively, feeling like an ass for multiple reasons. I asked what the drink was and raced across the street to Burger King. I returned with a large Coke and apologized once again.
I’m still charitable, because it’s the only way to be. But I now assume nothing. I no longer act without a verbal or written request, for everyone’s sake.