Saturday, January 21, 2012

On the tram

Last night on the tram home from work there was a woman walking down the aisle asking for coins. She had a cup held out in her hand and a sign taped to her chest. I really wondered what the sign said. It was several sentences long, but the only part I could read was "250 Ft". I watched her come toward me, which is common on trams in Budapest. Usually Hungarians mostly ignore people asking for money or they say no as they pass. But that night something was different. Almost every person on that tram dropped coins in the woman's cup as she passed. And I wondered, what did that sign say? What inspired so many people to generously give to this woman? Then I thought, does it really matter what the sign says? Despite knowing the woman's situation or what her sign says or whether anyone else on the tram gives her anything, shouldn't I give anyway?

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