I have blogged many times about the need to support good causes, including a recent blog about our responsibility in charitable giving. I have also written an entry about corporate social responsibility and another about why companies support good causes.
So, having established that I am a big supporter of charities I will also mention that as a general rule I will not give money to beggars on the street. If you ask the agencies that support these people, or the policemen who work the streets they will tell you that the money you give is invariably going to support a habit. The right thing to so is to support the agencies who can provide the homeless with the necessities of life and the support needed if they are ready to quit their addictions. One of the charities that I support is the Ottawa Mission, which does great work in this area.
For every rule there has to be an exception, and my exception is Eugene. This is a man who immigrated to Canada from Romania when it was an extremely difficult process. He built a life for himself and his family here in Canada and had even started to build a home on some land he bought in Ottawa when tragedy struck. Eugene was working on the roof of his home when he fell off the ladder and he broke his neck, leaving him a quadriplegic. Subsequently his wife left him and he has not seen his grown up children in a number of years. Eugene rides his wheelchair around the market area of Ottawa every day for probably 12 or more hours at a time … so I’m pretty sure he has no time to be an addict.
Whenever I see Eugene I try to stop and chat for a few minutes and give him a couple of dollars. He tells me stories of his life and of the things people do to him.
He has been robbed a few times and he just laughs … what can you do.
He can’t get into his building without help, so he just sits and waits till someone comes along … rain or shine.
He has no money, lives on the good graces of our welfare system and those willing to give a hand.
Yet … stop and chat to Eugene and his face lights up. Spend some time listening to him and you realise what a great life you have. Yesterday he gave me my quote for this blog entry …
“Some people have their legs, their arms, they have money … and still they are not happy, I don’t get it!”
Wow … next time you are having a bad day think about Eugene, and be thankful what is good in your life!