Friday, September 02, 2005

Driver's New Generosity Motivated By Puppy

A man conversing with a work mate at a coffee shop yesterday said that after driving to work by the same route for several years and passing the same man seeking change at the same stoplight every morning, he had for the first time actually felt motivated to give the man money. The only difference was the presence of a puppy. The driver said that the panhandler now held not only his sign, but a small and adorable dog which he smiled at and allowed to lick his face while waiting for change. The driver said that the scene has so moved him that for the first time he'd rolled down his window and given the man five dollars. Since then he'd been trying to figure out exactly what it was that had caused him to do so. He theorized that perhaps the presence of the dog made the man seem somehow more human or relatable, or his problems more real. Perhaps it made him seem less like a pariah who would use the money for alcohol and more like a father. The driver said he'd tried to convince himself that any of these was the real reason, but that they all felt as if they felt short.
His work mate asked what the driver felt the real reason was.
The man said he'd simply been concerned about the dog. He'd been worried that the animal might not get proper food or care, and that he'd wanted to be sure that wasn't the case. The driver said that upon reflection this thought had made him feel more guilty than generous.
For years it hardly bothered me that a man might go hungry, but the minute I saw that puppy, he said, I went for my wallet. What does that say about me?

13 comments:

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Gone Away said...

I think the feller with the puppy is an astute businessman. The fact that he has done the same thing for years would indicate that his strategy is successful in keeping himself alive, at least (he may even be making a mint for all we know). The addition of the puppy was a brilliant extension of his business into new areas.

sean b said...

i think it has something to do with the moral separation we put between ourelves and animals. humans tend to hold other humans responsible for their own predicaments, but we don't endow animals with the same agency. thus, we can easily rationalize contributing to their care, as they certainly seem dependent on it moreso... but i could be wrong.

Ned said...

I agree with Sean. We think the guy should go get a job, but now we have to worry that his indolence will affect a poor animal that is unable to care for itself. The difference is, even with a bunch of puppies or a basket of kittens and bunnies, I would still tell the guy to get a job.

Gone Away said...

He has a job. He's self employed. :D

Cuppojoe said...

Sean has hit it right on the head (and far more eloquently than I might have). And I speak from experience because, of the few time I have been compelled to help my fellow man, the most memorable one was the guy with the mangy dog...

Ned said...

Uh huh. Well for now I am in the workaday world, not having a large piece of cardboard or a bold black marker with which to write "Will Work for Food" but once the children are grown I am off to Florida to be a bag lady. But not if I have to get a kitten.

Gone Away said...

Really, this haughtiness at one of the oldest professions of all seems slightly unbecoming... ;)

Ned said...

Being slightly unbecoming is the natural result of this particular old profession, that's why he needs the puppy to garner sympathy.

There are other old professions in which being slightly unbecoming would seem to be a liability and yet isn't necessarily.

I am talking, of course, about being Queen of England.

Gone Away said...

Funny you should mention Good Queen Lizzie - only yesterday I was heavily involved in trying to get her a new job. But not quite the same sort of job that the feller we're talking about has. I doubt she'll need the puppy, anyway...

ned said...

Oh she has a job for life! Poor Charlie has waited in vain for her abdication and it is clear that she just didn't trust him.

But I think Puerto Rico has dibs on being the 51st state.

¿Se Habla Espanol Aqui?

Gone Away said...

And how many times has Puerto Rico applied and been refused? Don't you worry, good Queen Lizzie will prove too much of a temptation to you Yanks. :D

Ned said...

As as everyone knows, we "Yanks" cam resist anything but temptation.