Turn around, think twice

Middle-aged, maybe in his 50’s, his clothes old and dirty and a messy beard.

That’s all I know about the man I see every morning at the entrance of the metro-station. Oh well, and that he’s probably homeless. He stands there with a paper cup for people to throw money in. He doesn’t ask for it. He simply stands there, waiting for….I don’t know what he waits for, maybe for the day to go by.

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Now that I live in a big city I see homeless people on a daily basis. I see them on the streets and every day on the train on my way to university. They walk through, asking for money and sometimes selling a homeless newspaper. Recently I noticed something: people, me included, avoid to look them in the eye. By ignoring them, we exclude them from our environment. I guess sometimes this can be worse than not having a home: not being part of the society. They are outsiders, they don’t seem to belong to us.

So, I wanted to change that and had a thought last weekend. Next time I walk past the homeless man standing in front of the metro station I wanted to ask him for his name, so I could start greeting him. Last Sunday I saw him. I walked up to him with a coin in my hand. I felt like I still wanted to give him something. I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know how he’d react. Kind of scary, this human contact…

I threw the coin into his cup, he nodded friendly. Then I did it, I asked for his name. He first looked surprised, but then he said that his name was Peter. I repeated it: Peter? I really wanted to get it right. He said yes and smiled. I wished him a nice rest of the day. He said ‘thank you’ and I walked away. That made my day and I secretly hoped that it made his too.

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When this happened I was on my way back from shopping. So, first I thought: Wow, how sad. People just spent money on things they don’t really need. They walk past those and often don’t even have a coin to give to a man, that doesn’t even have money for food and other necessities. That’s so wrong. But I quickly discarded that thought. I don’t believe in right or wrong. Well, let me rephrase that: I think it’s difficult to determine what’s right or wrong in this messy, chaotic world. Right or wrong becomes very subjective. But even if I didn’t believe in those two concepts, I firmly believe in values like kindness and open-mindeness, and I believe in change. Everyone can change something, whether its their clothes or an attitude.

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So here is my (Monday-) change: I will greet the homeless guy. It is not about greeting him, its about recognizing that he’s part of our society and somehow part of my path.

Listen to Phil Collins – ‘Another day in Paradise’.

And remember: Be your own change everyday! #Mondayrules

Your Mocking Messy Monday girls!


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