I recently stopped to have a quick dinner at a restaurant on Merrimon Avenue and was appalled when I witnessed the restaurant owner scolding a customer for giving money to a young couple who were outside of the store.
I walked past this couple on my way in, and they didn’t ask me for anything, they were simply sitting there resting with their dog. The young lady who gave them money did so obviously because she felt a desire to help them.
I understand that this proprietor doesn’t want people panhandling on his property, but it’s not necessary to shame people—be they people who need help or people who want to offer help. This business owner has posted signs at the edge of the property forbidding anyone from “Panhandling, asking for or begging for money.” Heaven forbid that anyone in need be so bold as to ask a fellow human to help them financially. This owner has the right to ask panhandlers to leave his property; he does not have the right to bully his paying customer for daring to show some compassion.
Granted, I am only one person, but I now choose to boycott this restaurant. Just as this business owner has made a decision that it is not OK to help someone in need, I have decided that it is not OK to shame people for having a heart.
— J. Scott