“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov
As expected I am even busier now with my brother, his girlfriend and another 3 friends visiting from Brazil. It is chaotic because the friends decided to rent an Airbnb in the Harlem. Nothing against Harlem but they rented in an area out of the way for tourists and out of the way for me. It is so bad that they never went out in the evenings for fear of coming home in the dark. Next time perhaps someone will ask my input, after all I have only lived in New York for over 30 years.
I am doing my best to help out and provide them direction and fun. Tomorrow I am renting a mini-van to take them to the outlets. I hate outlets and I hate driving, so this goes on the list: things we do for family!
I almost never go out of my office. I get in in the morning and only leave at the end of the day. But every now and then I get out to run an errand. It never fails that I see a homeless person in a corner. Were they always there and I never noticed or this problem is growing at an alarming rate? I always give money or buy them food. Yesterday was no different.
After getting out of the office to go to HSBC I find myself standing in line at Wells Fargo. I realized my mistake and walked out. I see a man sitting in a corner and offer to buy him lunch. He asks if I could get him soda also. I get him the food and soda and go back to the office without doing what I had intended to do which is go to HSBC.
At the end of the day when I am returning home, in my town, I pass by an older man rummaging through a garbage can. I go back and the following conversation ensues:
Me: Are you hungry?
Him: No (sounding offended), do I look hungry?
Me: I don’t know, I just felt I should ask.
Him: I have $240.00 on this pocket (patting the left side of his pants and patting the other side as if trying hard to remember how much he had on the other pocket)
He proceeds to tell what he had for dinner: steak, potatoes and green beans and some dessert.
Me: oh then you have more money than I do. Can I borrow some?
Him: How much do you need?
I said good night and walked out. Would he really have loaned me money? Who knows, but this exchange illustrates the old adage: “Never judge a book by its cover”; and my favorite new one: Don’t assume, ask!
I had a homeless man yell at me once when I gave him food so I never assume they want and/or anything, I ask.
So the take away here is: Never assume anything. Ask, clarify, even at the risk of sounding redundant.
“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” – Steve Maraboli