I’d Like An Opinion On This.

I wasn’t planning on writing this and I have so many other drafts that it’s an atrocity that I’m writing something other than them but I need a second opinion on what happened to me today.

So as a nice end to my summer before I leave for my second year of university, I went out with my mum and brother for some food. The meal itself and the time spend together getting there was nice for us all, but our fun was ruined in a matter of seconds when a very visibly drunk man took it upon himself to chat shit to us for what seemed like a lifetime.

Now usually these people just ask for a pound or two to buy shelter, food, or whatever purchases they choose to make, and to keep the brevity of these interactions to a maximum, I give them whatever spare change I have and if I’m lucky, I can get on with my life without a second hand shake and excitable thanks on their part. However, this man – Craig – took it to a whole new level. We were just stood waiting for a bus at the station when he taps my 14 year old brother on the shoulder and gets all up in our space. Not only did this make my brother very uncomfortable, he told me afterwards that he was scared. And understandably so. This Craig man began his monologue about how ill-treated he is by life:

“I deserve better.”

“Something needs to change in my life.”

“I’m a good person aren’t I, I have manners!”

I don’t usually fear for my life, but I was genuinely expecting him to pull a knife out of his pocket and hurt one of us or himself. He got close to my face, my mum’s face – this stranger.

Then he told us the reason for his sadness. For 10 minutes, this strange man who we’ve never met mumbled and slurred about how he was raped as a child.

Being asked for money on the street is a moral dilemma in itself, when you’re faced by the downtrodden wanderers of your town in torn pants and black teeth, you feel sympathy. Now imagine being confronted by someone and them telling you how they were raped years ago in the most brutal way possible – no details were left out.

Of course I felt sorry for the guy, it instantly made sense as to why he could be on the streets in the first place, who knows what that does to a person?

But at one point, I’d had enough. I was not going to stand around in this public place with my 14 year old brother and vulnerable mother whilst some random wept his sorrows to us without any prompt or reason to do so. A bus that wasn’t ours arrived and we pretended to get on it, and he walked away. Gone. As if he’d just bought a bottle of water from the shop and got on with his day.

We were all extremely uncomfortable, and I actually got pissed off. I’d had a wonderful day out with my family, and it just had to end with ‘Craig’s’ unwarranted life story that none of us wanted to hear. I didn’t want him near me, my mum, or my brother, and I wished I’d have told to move along before he could go on with himself.

This is where I’d like your opinion: Am I a bad person for thinking so harshly about a vulnerable man who could have had a horrific event happen to him? 

Was it best to just let him get on with what he was saying in order to keep conflict at a minimum? He was drunk, who knows what he could have done?

What is the best way of nicely dismissing these people who approach you? 

Sorry for the weird post but I needed to get it out – Music of the Month is scheduled for September 1st, it’s a good one – prepare your earphones.

matt.x

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14 thoughts on “I’d Like An Opinion On This.

  1. I think you handled this the correct way. You respectfully listened to him without initiating trouble for either side. The way you escaped was respectful as well. Your emotions are completely justified, but morally, actions are what matter and yours were moral.

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  2. It’s not your fault. There is no guarantee that he was harmless, he could have been a potential threat. I guess I would have listened for a while and walked away.

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  3. Yeah, my bus literally couldn’t get there quick enough. I had to pretend some other bus was ours for him to leave, well thanks for your time anyway. I had a look at your site, it looks really interesting, I’ll be following. 🙂

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  4. Um, either fake a phone call or excuse yourself to look at the bus schedule something, or simply ask for some quiet. Unfortunately, that’s an awkward task, no matter who the person is, and honestly, I’d probably just suffer through his yapping until my bus comes because I wouldn’t know what to do either. There is no right way to do it. especially when you’re a little afraid of the stranger.

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  5. What if the conversation is no longer about money, because me and my mum both gave him some small change in order for him to leave but he stayed and chatted on. How do you say ‘please leave’ to someone who may be dangerous/is sharing this sort of story to you?

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  6. You are not at fault here. Your number one concern in all aspects of life is your own safety and then the safety of your loved ones. No matter what this guy’s story is, he has no right to get close or make you guys uncomfortable. That’s a bad tactic on his part.
    The best way to deal with these people is just to keep calm and politely end things. If they ask for money, try saying something like “sorry, I don’t carry cash” and they’ll usually accept that and move on. If you show no interest, they’ll usually move on to someone more willing to give them money or chat with them. You might feel rude by literally pretending to text or reading a sign or refusing eye-contact, but don’t worry, you’re not a bad person for not enjoying this awkward, unwanted interaction. However, if there is ever an issue of physical or verbal harassment, don’t be afraid to call the police.

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  7. Yeah I mean if you feel like your life is in possible danger, say whatever you need to say to get away even if that means threatening to call the cops. It’s better to be cautious and apologize later than not to be cautious at all.

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  8. I don’t usually care whether they use the money on something other than whatever they say because in the long run, I probably won’t miss it, and they might actually need it (but of course they might not). Unfortunately this time round we weren’t able to walk away as we were just waiting for a bus. I hardly have cash on me either, but sometimes even if I do, the best answer for me is just to say I don’t.
    Shit experience to say the least.

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  9. I don’t think it was harsh at all. I personally don’t give to homeless people who are on the streets because I’ve been duped too many times by well off people pretending to be homeless for some god awful reason. His story is quite sad, sure, but at the end of the day that’s not you or your family’s fault or problem considering you have no way of knowing if it was a line or the truth.
    When I’m approached like that and say, “Sorry, wish I could help. I don’t have any cash on me.” Which is usually the truth cause I never carry cash specifically for this reason among other things.

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