Today while stuck in traffic, an old man, walking through the street asking for change, approached my car window. I did something I’m not proud of and I ignored him until he realized he wasn’t going to get anything out of me and headed to the next car in line. I can never make eye contact when doing this, so I stared straight ahead. I saw an elderly woman who looked like she herself could be asking for change. What I saw next I found highly shameful: she asked a boy walking around to call the old man for her and proceeded to take out change from her ancient and worn out wallet. Just moments after the immense guilt that came down on me, I suspected a con. Maybe this is a trick they play to get people like me to feel guilty and give the man something. It’s a disgusting thought, one I’m more ashamed of than ignoring the old helpless man in the first place.
Now, the point of this is not one of moral dilemma but of our attitude towards others in this country. Have we lost faith and become so skeptical and suspicious of one another that I actually considered one human being helping another to be a con? I’m disgusted at myself for it, that goes without saying, but I’m also disgusted at the circumstances that allowed this thought to ever cross my mind in the first place.