I witnessed something today that was both humbling and thought provoking. Sitting in Burger King with The Ban Cheile I noticed two men arrive into the restaurant and recognised one of them from earlier in the day, when I saw him panhandling in a doorway on Patrick’s Street. Both were dressed in old, well worn, but apparently clean clothes. One man sat at a table while the one I saw earlier went up to the counter to order.
While his companion was ordering the food the man sitting down looked around the restaurant and smiled at anyone who made eye contact with him. His buddy returned in a few minutes clutching a burger – no fries or drink or even a tray with too many paper napkins and ketchup he didn’t want. They immediately leaned towards each other and obviously picked up a conversation they were engaged in when they arrived. The burger was opened during this exchange, torn roughly in two, and shared.
When they were finished eating they promptly gathered up the empty wrapper and a deserted paper cup, left behind by the previous residents, and tossed them in the bin on their way out.
I passed that man by in the street without a thought and made the usual assumption that In this day and age with billions being spent every year on social welfare (second highest expenditure after health) begging for money in the street was to feed a habit. In a way I was right, eating is a habit we all share. When he had gathered enough for just one burger he invited a friend and shared it with him. We could learn a lot from that man.