Developing a personal value system

01/07/2012

After spending a month on the road, I’m thrilled to be back in New York. Riding the subway is now second nature, but it never fails to inject a bit of excitement into the day’s travels.

When utilizing public transportation in NYC, you are face to face with humanity. Tall, short, black, white, rich, poor, skinny, and fat are all crammed into seats together.

A man stepped onto the subway the other night and explained that he wasn’t hungry, but that he was homeless. He needed a little money, and had a very warm disposition.

He then shared that he was HIV positive and had full-blown AIDS.

Was he lying? I have no idea. Was it at best uncomfortable and at most terrifying? Absolutely.

So what do you do? Give him money? Ignore him and try to act like he doesn’t exist?

Convince yourself that it’s not your job to sponsor his Subway Healthcare Plan™ and that he’d get what he needs by the end of the night?

Why does it take someone breaking the proverbial ice and contributing for others to feel empowered to do so?

Why doesn’t anyone talk about how to handle situations like this, or the method by which the right decisions in times like this are made?

I wish I had an answer, but I struggle with these things.