As the robot turns red, my foot is placed on the brake pedal,
I am at the corner of Parkdale Avenue.
I roll down my window to let the sun rays strike in,
Not only does the sun show up, but so does a mother and her little child.
She holds her child on her hip and asks me for money, or “donation” as they call it.
Her hair is wavy, her eyes are pale, and she’s probably in her twenties.
A single mother, jobless and helpless.
The baby moans and starts to cry.
I offer her the loose change I had lying around.
She appreciates it and goes back to the pavement before the robot turns green.
I drive off, I indicate left.
Here’s another one.
A young man holding a cardboard that’s reads:
HELP ME PLEASE. I HAVE NO FOOD AND NO HOME.
He comes up to my window and waits for me to read the board.
His eyes are blood red and he smells of alcohol.
My dad sits in the passenger seat and whispers:
“Don’t give him money, he will use it to buy drink.”
I grab my lunch from my bag and hand it over.
He accepts it and goes back to the pavement before the robot turns green.
There’s one more robot to pass before I reach home.
I wonder, who might be there?
The robot turns amber, I slow down.
It’s not one, but three children, probably siblings.
They are weak, hungry and are using rags.
I wonder where their parents are.
They too, walk up to my car, all three of them.
I think what I can quickly give them.
These children don’t need just money or food, they need more than that.
They need love, support and education.
The robot turns green and the car behind hoots.
I drive off.
This is the reality in our society, in our country, in our world:
Where there is a robot, there is a beggar.
There’s no specific race, gender or age group,
My heart aches to see this trend,
I only hope that what I offer is enough to bless them.