Last month, a friend asked me to help with a street collection for a charity in Dublin. Being introverted, I procrastinated about it for two weeks. Eventually, I decided a good cause trumpets my desire to work alone.
So, I donned a luminous bib for the charity, and I wandered out onto the rainy, cold streets of Dublin with a bucket in hand.
I held out the bucket as strangers walked up and down looking at their phones, shoes, straight ahead, behind, anywhere and everywhere but at me and my half-empty bucket.
(I couldn’t blame them; I’ve done the same many times.)
I was jingling the coins inside and studying a billboard for the new Star Wars film when a middle-aged, well-dressed woman tapped me on the shoulder.
“I want you to know why I can’t donate today,” she said, her voice round like an over-sized lemon. “They organised a big collection at church on Sunday, and I gave a lot, a lot.”
“That’s good to know,” I said, wrapping my hands around the bucket. “I best get back to it.”
The woman nodded, pulled her handbag onto her shoulder and walked down the street.
Thinking about our exchange that night, I wondered why this well-heeled woman was so concerned about what I thought of her refusal to put a few euro into my lonely bucket.
(I wasn’t even thinking about her!)