As I waited in line for my order at McDonalds, the kind act of a customer at the restaurant caught my eye. A woman proceeded to buy food for a homeless man, despite the discouragement of the employee at the register.
When the man proceeded to stretch out his hand in a gesture of gratitude, she looked away and refused his offer. The man then awkwardly put his hand down and walked away.
Witnessing this story left me feeling pretty sad.
Although I understand the employee being scared for the business, it’s unfortunate that we look at a human being in this light. It is unfair that a homeless person is denied the right to enter places were others can leisurely go, and denied respect because of their appearance and reputation.
Over time, we have developed fears of homeless people.
Take the woman at McDonalds for example. Whether it was his dirty appearance or his stereotype she was scared to shake the hand of this man. Would she have reconsidered if the man wasn’t homeless?
Society has silently created barriers with those we consider below us or others that scare us because they are not like us. We have based our judgments on physical appearance that has clouded and calloused our hearts.
Now I’m not saying to just approach any random homeless person or to not use discernment. What I am saying is that it’s important to realize that not every homeless person is a drug addicted, violent, mentally insane scam artist.
Homeless people are not the only ones who face discrimination. There is also those who have special needs. I can remember times when I have heard kids and teens laugh at those who had special needs, which always angered me. Unfortunately, some adults still haven’t matured in this area.
When my mother and I began talking to the mother of a boy with autism at Albertsons the reactions of the people around us shocked me. People stared, looked uncomfortable, or freaked out just because of his behavior.
Why is this child to blame? Just because the child has disabilities doesn’t mean that they should be outcasts from the world. They are beautiful people who deserve to live in a world that loves and accepts them. If we are scared because we don’t understand them, then it is time for society to stop being ignorant and start being compassionate.
It’s time to break down those fears and barriers that have been built in our minds and stop missing the joys of blessing those in need.