On Giving

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.

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3 thoughts on “On Giving”

  1. Sometimes it’s not so easy to give. You try, but it’s just not that easy. I tried to give some of the proceeds from my dogs’ book to a really big animal charity and they sent me a contract that would have cost me $3000 for a lawyer to look over. All because I wanted to donate royalties. They said, “You are too small for us to get behind this project without a contract.” I went to another charity who was grateful for my checks. Hey, I tried.

  2. I almost did a spit take with my coffee, Thomas. Nice life moment. Of course, he got the money, and a fresh Coke.

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