This morning on the train a young lady got on and sat down opposite to me. During a phone conversation she revealed that she had come to Melbourne from Perth, was six weeks pregnant, a victim of domestic violence and had been sleeping rough at the back of a school for the past few nights. She looked tired and unwell but there was a ring of truth to what she was saying.
On her lap she had a notebook and whilst she was talking she was making notes of the conversation, the name of the person she was talking to and the time and she was referring back to other notes she had previously made. She was ringing around charities and womens refuges trying to find somewhere to stay without luck so far although she had found one that would give her a bed and food for $40 per week but she would have to pay that upfront. The person on the other end of the phone told her that they would have no funding available until Monday next week. As she politely thanked her for listening, she hung up, got a vacant far away stare on her face and a tear rolled down her cheek.
A young girl who was getting off at the next station gave her $10 and she looked up at her bewildered and said to her "Are you sure?"
I sat there for a little while longer and thought about the $60 we'd spent on takeaway Chinese food last night and the shelves of unread books I have at home because I have the luxury of having a regular income. And I thought that this young lady was someones daughter and whilst there may have been some spin in what she was saying, she maybe deserved a better deal for the next week at least.
So I handed her $40 and she looked at me and said again "Are you sure?"
"Yes", I said, "Use it for your first weeks accommodation and when you're back on your feet pay it forward."
She thanked me and cried again and I felt a few tears well up as well. I hope she does get herself a feed and that she does use it for a bed and meals and not for a score.
I guess some of us are lucky to have choices. I chose to give her the $40 which for me won't break me. Now the choice as to how to use it is hers.