I was driving to SFO airport and there was unexpected traffic slow down and to avoid possible stop-and-go traffic I took the next exit to fuel-up the rental car (my usual fuelling spot few exists away). As I got into street there was gas station on the left and took a U Turn and followed big SUV into the gas station pulling into adjacent vending machine.
As I was getting out of my Car, the SUV driver was signalling for me and this part is generally a bit seedy, so I was apprehensive and on the guard. I could see family in the car and guess mid-eastern origin. I cross over and the driver asks me do you speak English, he says god bless and rapidly explaining he is from Dubai and his credit card is not working and his diabetic father and young kid are all hungry and thrust couple of Gold ornaments and says give me cash. I asked him how much he needs and he mentions so amount. I took out money was handing him he refused to take without me accepting jewellery. I said ok give me one piece of Jewellery (probably worth few x the money I gave). He tried to ask for more money for another piece of Jewellery and the father volunteered more of his jewellery but I was firm that I could only give do much. After couple of more pleading he thanked me profusely and left.
I am not sure what I would have done 5 years back but Post Pichaikaran (which I wrote 3 years back) it was a no brainer ! Think about this until couple of minutes back I didn’t even know I would take this particular exist and also when I used to live in US never carried more than $40 cash (but I generally have several $100s since I visit). So I was glad to help someone who on face of it seemed to be probably net worth more than me but forced to seek help because of circumstances. Post-Pitchaikaran I have stopped judging people asking for help and just do want feels right at that moment. I have also explained to several people that I contribute x amount a year or various purpose and a small % of that giving is to people who ask for alms in the street in other words I treat this as also charitable giving.
One suggestion to young readers, please start giving at early stage of your life, so that you develop habit of helping others. Also the amount is immaterial , it is caring and love that matters. Finally small amounts (hopefully you can increase as your income grows) every year is more impact full than some big donation(s) in future when your earnings are more. Joy of giving + compounding of small contributions over few decades is possibly hard to comprehend but “bigly” impact full.
Giving is personal, so no reason to compare our quantum of giving with others the but Idea behind writing this is possibly inspire few of you think and evolve your own perspective on giving …
PS this also made me think about and write Gold & me