Homeless Man “You think you’re better than me?”


Whenever I go to the grocery store I see a homeless person sitting on the bench in front of the store and/or walking around the parking lot.  They always ask me if I can spare some change and sometimes they have a speech that they have said so many times that they repeat it over and over again verbatim.

This one time I went to the store, as I was coming out a homeless man came up to me and asked me for change and I used my same excuse that I use every time “I’m sorry, I used a debit card for my groceries” which is actually true, so it’s not just an excuse.  Well, that pissed him off so much that he started yelling at me and saying that I thought I was better than he was.  Well, that made me feel bad, but at the same time I didn’t have any money to give him so his guilt wasn’t going to do him any good.

I walked over to him and I looked him in the face and I told him that I don’t think that I am better than he is.  I told him that I knew what he was going through because I was homeless when I was a teenager.  If anyone has ever walked a mile in anyone’s shoes it’s me because I went through the same exact thing.  He apologized to me and we stood there talking for a few minutes about what he had said to me.

I wanted to make it clear to him that I don’t think that I am better than he is because I am also poor.  Yes I have a roof over my head, but every dime that I get every month goes to keeping that roof over my head and it also pays for groceries.  I told him that I don’t think that anyone is better than anyone else because we are all the same.  Some are more privileged than others because they were born with money while others were born in a poor family, yet the two are still the same.  They all bleed the same, they all put their pants on one leg at a time, they are all born the same and they all die the same.  We are all but specks in the big picture so who am I to say that I am better than he is just because I have a bag for groceries and he doesn’t have anywhere to sleep?

We talked about the homeless shelter and he told me that it’s usually full.  I told him that there has to be some system for him to get back on his feet, perhaps a place where he can shower and shave and get some clean clothes so he can apply for a job, but he told me he didn’t want to work.  Well, then that’s his problem.

When I was homeless I lived in a shelter and I was damn lucky that they had a shelter for me to live in.  I also had a job so that I could save the money to get a place to live, unfortunately my boyfriend at the time was saving it for me, but he was really spending it as I was giving it to him so that didn’t work out, but I did eventually get out of the homeless shelter and got back on my feet.  If it weren’t for that drive to not want to be homeless, I’d probably still be homeless to this day.

I am very thankful for what I have and I will never in my life think that I am better than anyone else.