I'm not sure what it's like in other cities around the country, but here in Cambridge we have homeless/beggars/pan-handlers/whatever you want to call them, walking around busy intersections of traffic. Many hold signs telling of their woes and circumstances, carry empty Dunkin Donuts cups for their collections, wear heavy coats when it's warm, and trash bags when it's raining. I don't often give them money, I feel like I contribute to their care in other ways, but sometimes I may have some spare change to toss out the window. Often they look sad, unkempt, grumpy and worn.
Today I approached one of these intersections anticipating seeing my window friends. To my delight, one of my friends had a new sign:
If you don't have any change, Just smile.
He walked from car to car, holding the sign up to the windows, waving it back and forth with more energy and vigor than usual, doing a little dance and beaming at the cold hearted, icy Bostonian who couldn't help but smile. It was such a great thing to see. For a second I felt like I was at a Red Sox game. Feeling united somehow with strangers. I smiled at my intersection beggar friend and watched him in my rear view mirror going to the cars behind me. I'm confident he will make more money today.