Street People of Old Montreal

Two years ago, my current wife and I spent Christmas in Montreal. We toured the old part of the city and spent much of our time on the subways and on the streets. That meant we saw a lot of street people. We did something which was not much to us but meant a great deal to them. We passed out small candy bars - the monetary cost was insignificant. But the smiles on their faces showed that we were able to give them some respect and make them feel they were still part of society even though they somehow fell through the cracks. And in the process, we felt better about ourselves.
sakamato sakamato
51-55, M
2 Responses Mar 3, 2007

Obviously,,,, you should always be cautious when engaging with strangers. Unfortunately a great many of the homeless have mental health issues, and can be especially unpredictable to the uninitiated (less streetwise) person.<br />
Disclaimer as noted above....... regardless I have successfully endeared myself to many a homeless, vagrant or other panhandler on the street. Many have had difficulties with some form of social dysfunction and their further alienation from the majority of the daily public at large only promotes a greater withdrawl from society, community and humanity in general. Of coarse my observation is most general and everyone is an individual and everyones situation is unique.... but not many people are willing enough to give many of these people the time of day to engage them in the most basics of conversation let alone take the time to hear out their stories. Some stories quite colorful, some stories perhaps unbelieveable, some sincerely unfortunate and yet others so close to home its scary.....<br />
It's eas to throw some change into the hat. What's really appreciated is to engage on a the level and to give them just a moment of time to talk about the weather, break the ice and exchange in some civil form of conversation. Acceptance and acknowledgement that no matter how you look what you possess or your status that we are all on the same level... People who are part of the community and that we all the same flesh and blood, that we all are equally worthy and share similarly at some level we are all exsisting on the same place and time in this world where we all belong. Another point is that I give money and dont care what its for or why it is needed. In our society a person has to have $ for any self respect.... and we all have some sort of hustle to make wages...... us normies call it work.... dont think that demeaning oneself in the public eye for chump change isnt laborous!<br />
I have made many "friends" among my local community and have even had an instance where they have protected me from harm. Would I invite them to my home? Honestly , not likely. But I have had friends who became homeless and have stayed with me.

Hey thanks for being nice to some of the poorest of my city dwellers — now I know why some of them harbor a smile in spite of their difficult situation ! It's more than candies you're distributing: it's human warmth. Kudo to both of you!