or be kind… or (seeing as it’s easter and all) wwJd…
regardless of the title, i thought it a touching story…
“Every so often you take a photograph that has personal impact on your life. This photo is one of those for me.
I took this photo on the Burnside Bridge in Portland. The Burnside Bridge is one of the areas of Portland where homeless people congregate. There are a few homeless shelters there and lots of homeless people hang out just underneath the bridge. I was up shooting the bridge at night and the “Made in Oregon” neon sign that can be seen from the bridge.
While I was shooting I was wearing headphones and listening to music on my iPhone. As I was walking across the bridge this man, this man, approached me saying something while I had my headphones on.
In a moment that I am very ashamed of I did not remove my headphones. Instead I said back to the man that I didn’t have any money. I said this to the man without having heard what he was asking me. I could tell from his expression that he was annoyed by my response. At this point I took my headphones off to hear what he was saying.
What the man said to me was that he didn’t want my money. That he was not asking me for money, that he was asking me if I would take his photograph. I was very embarrassed. First off, I didn’t even have enough respect for another human being to take my headphones off and hear him out in the first place. And secondly I’d jumped to a conclusion that the man simply was trying to get me to give him money. I felt bad that I’d insulted this man. And I felt ashamed of the way I’d treated another human being.
After our interaction on the bridge I could not get my interaction with this man out of my head for the next few days. I was so ashamed at myself for jumping to the conclusion that I had and for not removing my headphones to speak with the man when he approached me. This beautiful man had approached me and wanted nothing more than to be photographed by a stranger. He was giving his image to me and I felt that I’d treated him so badly. I also felt bad that I didn’t even try to get his name or an address or something afterwards to send him the photograph. I had been taken by surprise by the interaction and was flustered and had acted poorly and thoughtlessly.
This interaction made me decide to try and make a greater effort in the future to connect with strangers on a human level.”
I am touched by this story. One should not judge a book by its cover.
I have stranger connecting on human level story. I was at home in the summer from college. In 1997 I was coming out of Walgreens at a mall. A man was standing in front of Walgreens asking people for money. It was probably silly of me, but I was just curious as to why the man needed money – so I asked him. I was thinking that maybe it was for drugs or alcohol. He replied to me that he needed it for bus fare to get to an alcohol rehab and for food. He said he had not ate since yesterday. There were a lot of people around because we were at a mall and I was on my way to the restaurant next door. I told him that he could join me there and I would pay for his food. He ordered a gyro and fries. He ate the food like he was starving. He went on to tell me that he was an alcoholic and that he felt blessed because I was the second person in the past week that had helped him out. He then told me that he was sleeping on a bench the night before and rats ate through his shoes. The next day he was walking down the street and a man was moving a heavy piece of furniture out of his truck and the man asked him for help. The homeless man said that after he helped the man. The man looked down at his shoes and saw that holes were in them. The man gave him a new pair of shoes out of the box for his assistance. The homeless man went on to tell me that he had a sister and his mother owned several large courtway apartment complexes in the area. His family had threw him out over 5 years ago because of his alcoholism. He said to me he was ready to try to change his life. I gave the man $5.00. I stood by and watched him get on the bus. I still thought that maybe he would not do what he was saying he would do with the $5.00 even though I saw him get on the bus.
I saw this same man 3 years ago and he noticed me. I did not know who he was. He was driving a very nice car and said that he had been clean since 1999 and offered to buy me lunch. I could not at the time, but have kept in contact with him. He told me thank you. He now owns half of his mom’s apartment complexes along with his sister. He is doing very well.
My reply to him was – Do onto others as you would like them to do on to you. I felt that way then and I feel that way now. It was no problem.
I believe in connecting with strangers on a human level and live by it daily. But stay safe. Sometimes walking away or ignoring can be the smartest thing.
An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto
a coworker who has been doing a little research on this.
And he actually bought me dinner simply because I found it for him.
.. lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!
! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.