My Welfare Fear


My Welfare Fear

Walking to work each day, I look through the large glass window of the huge brick building that sets on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Main.  The large brass sign hanging above the door that reads “Human Services” is tarnished from the weather.  As I round the corner each morning I notice that the sun shines directly into the waiting room reflecting off the stark white color of the walls.  I see you sitting there reading outdated magazines as your children sit in the middle of the floor on a rug that is frayed and has seen better days.   Toy trucks that are missing parts and baby dolls that can’t open both eyes any longer are scattered about the floor.

Nobody notices me as I walk by in my tailored business suit with neatly coiffed hair.  I’ve become a symbol of corporate America, a reminder of what you have lost and may never get back again.  However, I notice you every time I walk past these windows, because your situation is my worst fear.  I live from one day to the next in an economy that is unstable, never sure when I will receive my last paycheck and knowing full well I could be sitting next to you sometime in the weeks to come.

Today as I walk by I hear the children arguing with each other and I see you dab a tissue at the tears that roll down your face.  I can’t help but wonder who you are and what you did in the yesterdays of your life before ending up here.  How fragile we all seem in an economy that is crumbling beneath us.

One day as I was walking by these social service offices, a young lady was coming out of the front door with her children when she accidentally dropped her purse, spilling the contents everywhere.  I stopped to help her pick it up, but she just looked at me and shouted that she could do it herself.  Her face was full of anger as tears fell from her eyes.  Standing up, I apologized and continued on my way. 

As I turned to look back, I saw her pull a package of crackers from the pocket of her big coat and hand a few to each of her three children.  One of them asked if there was going to be dinner today and I saw her sadly shake her head no.  I pulled a twenty from my pocket and approached her with it.   “Here”, I said, “Perhaps this will only help for one day, but maybe tomorrow there will be new hope”. I saw the fear and the anger drain away from her face, to be replaced with tears of gratitude as she accepted the money.

It’s been a year since the day when I helped that young mom.  I sit here now, looking out the large glass window, hardly noticing the pretty people going by, staring at my own reflection in the window and listening to the children as they play in the middle of the floor.






~ by msbee1 on October 13, 2009.

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