He Asked for Help to Get A Cup of Coffee and I Said No


It is very easy to get desensitized to the numerous pleas for money from people living on the streets in DTLA. And yes—I said living on the streets because I am not trying to soften up what the situation is—people are living in the motha—-ing streets.

Those of us who get up and make a beeline to our fav coffee spot every morning to overpay for coffee sometimes take our privilege for granted—including me. This morning a guy asked me to help him get coffee.

My immediate reaction was to say I’m sorry but I can’t. That’s my go-to reply. I probably have to say it 100 times a day. I feel bad. I feel less bad when I’m asked for actual money because at least my answer is truthful—I don’t have cash on me.

Anyway, this guy, like many of the people who approach me asking for help, scared me. That’s really what stops me from being able to be more helpful to them sometimes. I’m just scared. I’ve had some really bad interactions with folks on the street in DTLA.

I’m always on the verge of being physically attacked. I know folks are suffering from mental illness, are high on drugs, etc etc—but the harm they cause—the physical harm is real—even if they don’t mean it.

Stabbed is stabbed, punched is punched and I’ve seen more male privates than I can count 😫.

I’ve been chased, followed, and more. So I’m very apprehensive when I’m approached by people. Anyway, this guy asked for help to get coffee and I gave my boilerplate reply and sashayed my Black ass into Starbucks.

Then it hit me and I was like girl, everyone deserves a cup of coffee in the morning who needs one and he looked like he needed one. So I took a chance that he wasn’t going to attack me and I got his coffee and took it outside to him. All he said was thank you ma’am.

I’m glad I did that. I’m going to push myself a little more to step out of my shell and stop being so scared of people.