It’s Not Like That On YouTube!

imageRecently I have watched a number of inspirational videos on YouTube that have focused on random acts of kindness, particularly for the homeless. As well as reducing me to tears, they have served as reminder of how lucky I am in life, and while I try and do my best for others when I can by collecting for homeless shelters, raising money and giving to charity shops, I can always do more.

Over the last week the weather has changed, suddenly becoming bitterly cold with almost continuous rain and heavy winds. In my little town on the outskirts of Birmingham, I have seen several homeless men taking shelter in the doors or shops at night, and despite the fact that I haven’t got much money at the minute so I decided to try and do a little something for them when I could.

This is what happened:

Attempt 1: I didn’t have much change in my purse, but I found £1.00 in my pocket and put it in the cup of a homeless man sitting at the side of the road. The man didn’t say anything to me, but yelled ‘oi! Give me your phone number’ as I walked away. I told him thanks, but my boyfriend probably wouldn’t like that, to which he responded with ‘whatever, b*tch.’

Nice.

Attempt 2: I went into the local sandwich shop to get some lunch, and got an extra sandwich – ham salad – and a hot chocolate. I took them over to the homeless man I had just walked past and handed it to him.

Me: Morning love, I got these for you for lunch.
Him: (snatches at sandwich and looks at it) I’m a vegetarian, so you can have it back and I don’t like hot chocolate (shoves sandwich back at me)
Me: Oh, ok then. Can I get you something else instead.
Him: Yeah, you can give me that packet of cigarettes. (I had just bought a packet and was holding them in my hand).
Me: I can give you some of them, but I haven’t got enough for another packet.
Him: Well, you shouldn’t be wasting your money on sandwiches then.
Me: Touché.

I felt totally deflated (although thought the conversation was hilarious when I was recounting it later), and I handed him a cigarette and walked away.

Attempt 3: I walked past a man sitting in the doorway next to a supermarket.

Me: Hi love, have you eaten today? I’m just going into the supermarket so I can get you something if you like?
Him: Yeah I’ve got food. Now f*ck off.

I didn’t bother responding.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting tears and hugs while anthem style music played in the background, but I certainly wasn’t expecting that! Perhaps I’m doing it wrong?

It’s not like that on YouTube!

What about you guys? Have your attempts to help someone out been thrown back in your face?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

55 thoughts on “It’s Not Like That On YouTube!

  1. Oh Suzie’s, this post is hilarious, and so true to life! The funniest story I have is about the daughter of a friend who was working with the homeless while at Uni in England. There was this one toothless guy who said, you must be from Greece, you have the accent. She said yes, and he went on – I worked in Greece myself, on an avocado farm in Crete. My employer was a right mean bastard tho. And she said to me, I realised he was talking about Dad!!! (Her father was rather mean actually, but what a coincidence!

  2. We have a bit of a mixture in Leicester. Some are grateful and happy whenever someone offers them something while others just mumble and look out of it. To be honest, the best interactions I see of the homeless and others are when I go on a night out clubbing or to bars. Everyone offers them something from subway, dominoes etc, and they end up quite happy. So my tip is to get drunk and offer them a sub! 🙂

  3. Just remember that for all the ungrateful people around, there are many that are appreciative of a friendly hello etc. For all the dishonest charities around, there are many honest ones. If we go for a short drive, we are likely to remember the idiot that forced us to brake hard …. but we will not remember the hundreds of other perfectly responsible drivers. It is big business to show “doom and gloom” on tv because, sadly, it is in demand. We should not however forget that good things happen all the time. We just don’t get to hear about it too often. “Perspective is reality” (business quote). The world is how you perceive it to be.

  4. Good try, Suzie… Congratulations for being so determined.
    I remember a girl asking me for money for food in Florida. I told her that I would gladly buy her some food, but wouldn’t give her any money (the needle tracks on her arm were a fair sign of what the money could be used for). I met her in the park later, as we’d arranged, and gave her the MacDonald’s menu she’d ordered. She was eating it when I left… So I suppose it really depends on the individual.
    My neighbour in eastern France was the vicar. His experience was different – one day a homeless man rang his door and asked him for money to get the train to Strasbourg. Père Lucien got his car keys, and drove the man to Strasbourg. If that was what he really wanted, it was great. If it wasn’t, then the man will have learned his lesson… and had a long walk back!

  5. Awh, bless you for extending such kindness! I remember seeing a guy in the subway last year who, not only wasn’t accepting food or money, but he wanted cigarettes of a specific brand!! He kept shouting, “Pall Mall……….anyone got a Pall Mall”! Blimey! I thought to myself, okay, we are particular, aren’t we? So I kept walking!! 😉 Cher xo

  6. I attempted to give a hot meal from a restaurant to a homeless man in the parking lot only to have it turned away as well. You would have thought by his expression that I was attempting to poison him, then again considering it is likely he suffered from mental illness, he probably thought I was.

  7. I think a lot of this type of responses maybe the result of embarrassment or humiliation at the situation these people find themselves in day after day.
    Keep on doing what you’re doing, it’ll get paid forward eventually.

  8. When I worked in downtown Detroit – after I moved there from Iowa of all god-forsaken places, there was a woman who followed me around at each lunch time and sat staring at me while I ate at a cafeteria. I tried to buy her lunch and she just mumbled gibberish. Ah. Well. Helping people is a tough business ………..

  9. Wow. I am convinced someone had the cameras rolling somewhere. What a testimony to the reason many people find themselves in a gutter somewhere. For it is certainly NOT the LACK of kindness and generosity, but more their inability to accept love. Please do not let the unworthy feelings of someone else keep you from being a bright, shining, beacon of LOVE! Just the fact that you made the effort, lifted the vibrations of the entire world! God Bless you.

  10. Oh, that’s no good – I feel really sorry that your efforts met with abuse. A few years ago in Vancouver my mother, hubby and I went around on Christmas Eve delivering food to homeless people. All of them responded with politeness and gratitude, even those who didn’t want to take the food. So it sucks that your efforts were met with smart-assed attitude.

    My nana and I were walking through Toronto together many years ago when we passed a young homeless guy who shouted ‘can you spare a dollar for a vasectomy?’ It made my nana laugh so much she gave him a few dollars 🙂 And recently in Monterey I saw a homeless person holding a sign asking for ‘donations towards alcohol research,’ which I thought was truthful, if not a little sad.

    You will find someone who appreciates your efforts. Too bad for those ungrateful guys, I’m sure you won’t be wasting time trying to help them any more!

  11. The last time I offered to get someone on the street a hot drink, he asked for a Coke (not what I had in mind for him as the weather was freezing) and would I get him a sandwich as well? I thought this was slightly cheeky but happily agreed. He dictated his favourite sandwich but wanted it warm, telling me that the nearby Greggs knew just how he liked it (so he obviously managed to get this out of someone on a regular basis!) Greggs microwave was broken so I took him the cold version and the Coke, for which he seemed most put out. The whole process took at least twenty minutes. Ah well.

  12. Wow, how awful you were received! Shame. I suppose they have their reasons for responding that way but could be nicer about it. People here in Las Vegas stand on many busy intersection corners, sign in hand, some smiling. They seem grateful for a bit of change. We never know what a person’s ‘story’ is do we.

  13. Ah! I’m sorry you had to receive that type of response… I find it – difficult to help the homeless in my city nowadays. When I was in college (although I barely made enough to eat), I used to eat lunch downtown and buy the first homeless person I saw a meal. The people I helped were so grateful for me..

    I graduated from college and tried to continue doing the same thing (because I just don’t believe in giving out money) and that’s where it kind of went downhill. I received the same responses you had gotten and that’s what disheartened me… because I’m trying my best for these people and I guess I shouldn’t expect them to be grateful for me… but it would have been nice if they even just accepted the help I was trying to give. So yeah, same question – am I doing it wrong?

  14. Wow! Ungrateful scum buckets. I feel like taking down my video from YouTube now and driving supermarket trollies into those people you meet. I hope it rains tonight lol

  15. You get these people in Glasgow too although I tend to not give, hats off to you for trying to help. The main reason they want your money is for alcohol and I’m sorry but that pound is much better going into my kids mouth than on a can of lager, I won’t feed their habit. I certainly wouldn’t have gave that guy a ciggie after that comment cheeky sod lol.
    Pauline x

  16. Boy, you ran into a bunch of nasty homeless people! But then, a lot of them have mental problems, so maybe that was part of it. We have homeless vets on the corners of major streets and I usually give them some money. There was a lawyer in a town not far from here – he panhandled every weekend , believe it or not, and made a lot of money. Guess his law practice wasn’t generating a lot of income!

  17. Can I take a different tack. I’ve worked with and for crisis for years and the homeless of course are all sorts. One Christmas I got a shed load of grief while serving dinner . Said guy was withdrawing at the time not that I knew it until later. I was pissed at the verbals and later felt guilty. It made me realise I was essentially helping because it felt right. It made me feel better. Selfish if you like. Thats how I saw it. So now I buy coffee and help and sometimes I get thanks and often I don’t and it’s all OK
    So glad you are keeping going. They need you more than ever.

    • Agree with Geoff. So sorry you went through this but you’re a lovely lady for trying. I’ve been giving for years and I guess the thing you have to remember is that these people you attempted to help are still people. Just like us. Good moods, bad moods… Don’t stop trying. (Maybe you could donate through a shelter. That has always gone well for me.) ❤

  18. I had the same sandwich experience in New York. Mine was a corned beef from the Carnegie Deli, but my guy threw it down on the sidewalk. I tried again last Christmas and gave a guy on a corner five dollars on the way to a doctor’s appointment only to see him get into a Lexis when I came out of the office.

  19. Wow.. That’s really interesting to hear! I wasn’t expecting that response! It makes you think twice as to how they got in that position of being homeless to begin with! I’m sorry they weren’t very nice to you!/: x

  20. I often just smile or offer a word or two….if I’ve got a magazine on me, I might give them that. I do give change sometimes. I guess I’ve been pretty lucky? But then, the city I do this in is in Australia. Dunno if that makes a difference?

  21. I had to smile at this, yes it did happen to me. Except I was the one in the living on the street and know how tough and dangerous it can be. Most of the people living in the streets is because of bad choices of their own, and normally not very good people, a real jungle for survival. And when you see a “wealthy” person doing what you did, the person in the streets a lot of time hates the snobbery of that other person even if he( which normally no he´s is more she that adventure to do that)or she is doing it in good effort. Plus I guarantee you that food they have, there are always lunch halls for the homeless, shelters, you can get in certain days if is not too crowded, you can get tickets to get food in certain places, e.t.c. so the money you give to them is going to go for two things, or booze or drugs. That is a guarantee. Forget about food or hot chocolate. I got out of that life after I decided to cut down certain habits in my life and get my act together so I have no pity for homeless people. Not that I live in a mansion now, it´s really a shit hole, but I have a roof over my head, some money to get buy for food and internet to write my crazy poems.
    So, it didn´t work out so good doing the robin hood then….

  22. What the hell!? Damn you have some nasty homeless people near you! I think it’s awesome that you are trying to get them food rather than just giving money which can be possibly spent on drugs/cigs/gas etc. I’m wondering if the people you picked were aiming for those kinds of things rather than sustenance.

    We get so many people round our way like that and very pushy or they BS you about bus fair etc. I saw a man the other day who was homeless but not verbally asking for money or anything so I bought him a Snickers and he looked really surprised and pleased. Maybe it’s the luck of the draw hon?

  23. That sucks. I’ve done the random acts before, but I usually help out homeless women with children or people with disabilities and I haven’t had it backfire on me yet. One time in San Francisco’s Union Square, a guy asked for money to buy food of which I had no cash so I offered him my packed lunch that I hadn’t eaten (which was basically veggies and cheese) and he refused, saying he couldn’t chew…I don’t know how much I believed that excuse…

  24. I’ve become very skeptical about giving on the street. Too often I suspect the beggar is out there doing a job, with a “boss” somewhere in the shadows. I once came across a woman with a baby in a cheap stroller. The woman held a poorly written cardboard sign stating she was from Ukraine (or another Eastern European country) and pleading for money. It was cold and the baby wasn’t wearing anything warm enough to protect her. I ran to my car and grabbed my emergency jacket, a big fleece thing I kept in my trunk. When I handed it to the woman, she looked puzzled, so I pointed to the baby. She didn’t seem pleased and threw the jacket in the back of the stroller.
    A friend later told me these European beggars are scammers. They are handled much the same way prostitutes are managed, and they need the babies to look poorly fed and cold. Sometimes the babies are not theirs, thus the “motherly” indifference. It was heartbreaking to think about and impossible to find a good resolution.
    I fear that most street beggars use the donations to buy alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. I now very rarely give to anyone on the street, but we are generous with legitimate charities. There is no perfect solution, but the one that makes you feel like the decent human being you are is the best for you.

  25. Wow… that was quite weird what you’ve been going through… I’m speechless.
    Even though, when traveling once, I met a girl who begged for money. I told her: “I can’t give you cash, but I can invite you in. You can shower, I’ll give you a new T-Shirt and Shorts and we can go for lunch.” She hissed at me, that THIS wasn’t what she asked for.
    I was shocked.

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