Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Am I a pushover or is this just my way of redistributing wealth?

I live in a suburban neighborhood where the neighborhood kids don't bother to mow lawns, rake leaves, or shovel snow.  Their parents all have "people" for that so we don't rely on the kids for any of our jobs.  I usually do my own work, except for raking leaves which for some reason I just hate,  as I like the exercise and being outside.  My husband rakes, cleans gutters, and does general lawn clean up.  I mow and shovel snow. 

Occasionally I get a knock at the door and it is someone looking for work.  We live in a very ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood so I get people of all languages coming to my door.  Usually, through a series of limited English and lots of pointing we reach an agreement on what I want done. Usually what I want done is nothing that I even considered until the knock at the door but I want to encourage and help anyone that has the initiative to get out and find work.  In the few cases where I turn someone down I feel bad about and try to figure out what I should have done.

Today we had our first snowfall - just an inch or two.  I was just getting ready to go outside and shovel when there came a knock at the door.  A middle aged African American man with a giant coal shovel looking for work.  I first said no, I didn't need anyone to clear the walks and driveway.  Then I realized that he wouldn't be out here if he didn't need the money and I asked him what he would charge to do the walk and the driveway.  He responded that he would accept whatever I paid.  I offered $25 and he got to work. 

My husband will be both annoyed and happy when he gets home.  Annoyed that I had someone do a job that he or I could have done, and happy that he doesn't have to do it.  I would actually have enjoyed the bit of work but I also wanted to let this man earn some money.  It's a puzzle for me each time this happens.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

You have a good heart and a trusting nature. That's not what's wrong with you; that's what's right with you.