Cashless and Homeless

2 Nov

Last Friday night both of our children had plans, and Glenn and I found ourselves with one of those rare evenings alone. We decided to go out rather than to cook. We went to Luna Pizza which has, according to my Italian American husband, the best pizza in Fredericton. If you ever go there, you must order the Caesar Salad. We had a great meal, and had a chance to really talk. Four days later I don’t even remember what we talked about, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything more exciting than our plans for the weekend and week to come.

We weren’t there long when another couple came in and sat at the table next to ours. After a few minutes the woman leaned over and said to Glenn, “I’ll give you forty cents for that seat next to you.” We all had a good laugh, recognizing each other from the crowded deck at Dolan’s Pub last month on the last night of the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. They came in with a group and we kept getting up an moving down for them as their party grew and grew. Fredericton is still small enough that you can’t really go anywhere without seeing someone you know, or at least recognize. But, it is not so small that we don’t have a problem with homelessness.

As we were leaving the restaurant and rounding the corner to where we parked the car, we saw a young woman sitting in the doorway of a store that had closed for the night with her hat out for donations. She asked us if we had any change we could spare. She was far too young to be homeless, not that being homeless at any age is something we as a society should accept. I never know what the right thing to do in this situation, but we really didn’t have any change or cash at all. But, we did have leftover pizza and we offered it to her. She took it and was appropriately thankful. I’m glad we could at least give her supper, but I wish I could have done more.

Last weekend when we were in Halifax for my graduation we walked by several homeless people openly begging for money on Spring Garden Road, and our eleven year old was almost in tears at the obvious poverty and need he saw. He wanted to help too. I try to teach my children to treat everyone they meet with dignity and respect, but there are some situations like these ones that leave us wondering the best way to do that.

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One Response to “Cashless and Homeless”

  1. Leanne November 2, 2010 at 9:57 PM #

    Glenn is right — Luna is clearly the best pizza in Fredericton! I haven’t found any in London to compare to it. Another thing I miss about living in a small city is knowing that no matter where I go, I’ll most likely run into someone I know. I miss familiar faces! I never see anyone I know here! Maybe that will change someday.
    Homelessness is a universal heartbreaking truth. We went on a bike ride with the kids this summer in downtown London, and one of the paths we took wound along the river and under a couple of bridges. Both times we saw rolled out sleeping bags and other personal belongings, the evidence that this is someone’s home. It was a good catalyst for discussion with our kids, but such a sad thing to have to explain. You certainly did the right thing in sharing your pizza — I’m sure a hot meal meant more to her than some loose change.
    Congrats on two days in a row! Looking forward to what you have to say tomorrow!

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