“Not by choice, but by circumstances.”
These were the words of a man whom I talked to. He approached me as I was walking out of Barnes and Noble bookstore, one Saturday afternoon. He bore a timid smile on his face, and was kind of hesitant to talk. But perhaps because of a dire need of some dollar change, he summoned all the courage he can muster, flushed his male ego down the drain, to ask…wait! to beg…if I can spare him some dollars for food. He said he is homeless and has no job. I looked at him straight in the eye, and asked why he doesn’t have a home, why he doesn’t have a job. The words that came through: “ma’am, it is not by choice but by circumstances.” Whether he was telling the truth or not, at that point in time my brain did not even get the chance to process. Those words were more than enough to instinctively made me fish out some dollar bills from my purse, and handed to him. With a grateful smile, he said “thank you.” I just nod my head, and walked towards the parking lot. As I was driving home, those words kept repeating in my brain. I was slapped on the face with reality. How many of us are so lucky, and how many out there are not?
The reason why we have food on the table, why we are able to send our kids to school, why we can pay our bills, why we have a roof above our head, and why we are able to buy the things we need and the things we want.
If when and if by an unfortunate strike of bad luck that we lose our job, and if we live by paycheck to paycheck, how many? Two, three, maybe the most is four paychecks away and we will be walking with this man, (or many more like him), on the road of uncertainty. This is the sad reality.