I was in the city last for work, and at 8:00 PM I was wandering around, looking for a cafe for dinner.
I crossed paths with a man who looked terribly destitute. He was in a sleeping gown (which would be just adequate for the cool night), and drinking from a plastic bottle of meths. I had in my wallet $5 and $20 notes. The $20 might have bought him a shelter for the night (but I did not know where to find one). I was reluctant to part with $20 however, and I couldn’t see how the $5 could be helpful.
As we crossed paths (he was walking too) I looked at him long enough for him to ask for something from me, if he wanted, but he didn’t. I felt some resistance to offering him money, unsolicited, as it may be an intrusion and remind him of how visible his destitution was.
I decided not to approach him and offer any assistance, and said a prayer.
I don’t feel bad about this, but I’m just wondering if, next time, I should do anything different.
My main question is - is it (or could it be) more considerate to not approach someone in such a state, namely destitute and intoxicated, but conscious, unless they show some sign of wanting assistance?