My friend, call him Dave, who is a business executive in a well known corporation in Erie, called me one morning.
“Dr. Cris, I did something and I want to know if you think I did the right thing?” he said. Dave was on Peach Street and had just picked up a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts. As he pulled out of the parking lot, he noticed a middle-aged man with a backpack and a cardboard sign laying on the ground that said “Please Help Homeless” sitting on the curb.
Dave pulled his car over. The man said his name was Spoon.
“When did you eat last?” he asked. The man replied, “Two days ago I suppose.”
Dave gave him some donuts, and a twenty dollar bill.
“Do you think he used the money for the right reasons?” Dave asked me.
“Does it matter?” I replied.
“What do you mean? What if he uses it for drugs?”
What matters, I told him, is what Dave did, not what Spoon did. You see, none of us can really control what anyone else does, but we can always control what we do. Long story short, Dave has helped Spoon over the last two years a number of times. He bought him a sleeping bag and brought him to The Upper Room, where we found him fresh clothes, set him up to get regular showers at the YMCA, and even got him a bit of paid work from time to time. Dave is also a strong supporter of The Upper Room. “It feels right to do the right thing,” he has told me, and Dave’s correct - it does feel right to do the right thing, even if you can’t always control the outcome.
Since that day, Spoon has found part-time work, has his own little apartment up on West 26th Street, and has started helping out as a volunteer for special projects at The Upper Room.