By: Sylvia Broome, Central Atlanta Community Facilitator

“What difference does it make?  As long as I have “mine”, what difference is it to me if someone doesn’t have “theirs”?  It’s their fault, I worked hard to get mine, if they worked hard they would have theirs too…

Lazy, welfare queen, bum…what difference does it make to me? It’s easy to succeed, the system is set up so you can succeed.  If you don’t it’s your fault.

Look at that bum!  Dirty, stringy hair, old clothes, he’s blocking the sidewalk!  I’ll have to walk in the street to get around him!  Sheesh, if he’s going to lay about, he should at least do it somewhere where normal people aren’t trying to walk.

Ugh, what if he wants money?  What if he speaks to me?  What will I do?  What if he tries to rob me?  I’d better walk fast.

Too late, he’s looking at me.  He’s smiling.  “Excuse me, sir”…  I know what to do, don’t make eye contact, just walk quickly by.  I’ve always been told that.  Don’t give him money, he’ll only buy booze with it…

These people are just a nuisance. Someone should do something…

But, there’s something about that smile.  Something familiar, like we’ve met before.  I’ve probably just seen him on the street before.  They’re everywhere.

But…what if… he’s someone’s father?  He’s someone’s son, maybe he has a family.  What happened?  Why is he here, begging on the sidewalk?  Maybe he’s someone’s friend?  What if he used to be my friend?  Why did his smile seem familiar?  Did he smile because he recognized me and I just walked by?

What if it was me sitting there…?

No, that’s impossible, I work hard, I’m smart, I take care of my self.  That could never happen to me. Lazy, welfare queen, bum…what difference does it make to me?  I have what I deserve, if he doesn’t it’s his fault.

Next time, I’ll walk on the other side of the street.”

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