There’s an older (homeless-looking) woman who hangs out between Peet’s Coffee and Arizmendi’s Bakery on Lakeshore in Oakland. She can be kind of scary as she blurts out (sometimes) vulgar words to passersby. Her eyes are so piercing, it’s like she’s looking right through you. This morning she was sitting in front of Peet’s and uttered some unintelligible words as I passed . On my way back to my car from Arizmendi’s, I noticed a woman with a walker approaching the older woman and she handed her a dollar bill.
Indignant, the older woman uttered more unintelligible words, and then said, “take your dollar and buy a cup of coffee…you’re nothing but a welfare check.” Huh?!? What?!? I laughed until I cried!
I have no idea what the older woman meant by that, but it made me think how easy it is to stereotype or prejudge people. The woman with the walker no doubt thought she was doing a good deed by attempting to give the older woman some money. I’ve seen this older woman for several years on Lakeshore and although she’s strange, and can sometimes be a little scary, I’ve never known her to panhandle.
Lesson: Don’t be so quick to judge others and don’t make assumptions.
“You’re nothing but a welfare check” — my new saying when someone does something stupid “;-)