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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Go Vegan, or Go Homeless!

Well...I'm not about to go vegan...he he he. Just couldn't resist the catchy title based on my little anecdote for the day.

So, I'm on my way home from work after this morning's classes, and as I'm passing by the Wendy's, I see that there's a homeless person sitting outside with a sign asking for money. This is the norm. Different day, different homeless person. They must fight over this coveted spot.
Anyway, I don't give people money unless I see that they have some true physical disability. You can't fake me out with a phony wheel chair scam, though... I'm a sharp, savvy New Yorker. Your illness has to be visibly real. However, today, it was especially cold, so I softened up a bit. This guy was obviously able bodied, and middle aged, but out on the street in the cold.
I told the guy..."hey...I won't give you money, but I'll buy you some lunch. You want a double cheeseburger meal or something?" He wrinkles up his face at the suggestion. "No, I'm a vegetarian. Can you just get me a salad, some mandarin orange slices and a big soda?"
I was like "huh?". It just threw me off for a second! Not that I don't think that there are any homeless vegans....it's just A) I never really thought about it, and B) have never had someone turn down a burger or sandwich before when I've offered it! (except this one ballsy guy once that straight out told me "I don't want no damn sandwich... I need some money!"). Anyway...

Well, gotta respect that! Even though he's homeless or down on his luck, he's sticking to his guns! He won't eat just anything .... unless it's meatless.
Don't let hard times change you! I guess that's the moral of the story, huh? ;)
So, I got him his salad, no meat or cheese on it, with vinaigrette dressing, an orange cup and a big soda. He thanked me kindly. I went on my way and felt great.

I have to wonder, though.... if it really came down to it, would he eat meat instead of starving? What if he were in a situation where he absolutely had no choice?
By the way, isn't eating totally vegan all the time kind of expensive? I mean, you have to buy more tofu, more nuts, more "other stuff that's not meat" or meat substitute, right? At least, that's what I've always thought. Correct me if I'm wrong!

Hey, all you vegans... if you were in a situation where you hadn't had food for days, and the only thing that became available was a meat product or meat based meal, you'd eat it, right? As repulsive as that might be to you... Survival comes first, I would think.
Just wondering.....
However, this guy lives to be vegan yet another day! Yay for him! ;)

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Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Hey Diva! That would've taken me back for a sec too! "I'll take a meal but make it meatless please." Funny. I think it's great you bought him a meal. Very cool! I would think that if you were hungry, you would eat anything, but that's just me.

Jan from BetterSpines said...

I also believe the survival instinct would kick in if he were truly starving. But good for you buying the man a meal, and good for him having some pride.

Dwayne said...

I can relate to this guy. Although I have not been on the streets, I know what it is like to be hungry. And I know what it is like to eat 99 cent double cheeseburgers also. Someone offered me a meal, I would choose the salad also. Taste a whole lot better. You are a good person for doing that. You have always been one of my favorite bloggers, now you are one of my favorite people.

Azure Islands Designs said...

I do agree with you on this...buy the homeless person a meal, don't give him money...
I'm not Vegan but I suppose it depends on just how hungry the person is...although I find it hard to believe a truly hungry person (Vegan)would turn down a hamburger!!!


tahtimbo said...

Good job! I never give money, I will give them something to eat instead. I have to hand it to that guy though, for sticking to his convictions.

Leo (Healthy Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle) said...

Interesting story!

I don't think it's more expensive to be a Vegan though.. I think all foods costs about the same - the only difference is if it's organic/biodynamic or some other advanced healthy stuff, then it's more costly :D

Shelia said...

Good Monday Morning Diva!

Alright, I can roll with him sticking to his vegan roots, but I'll be damned if he can stick to them out of my purse! He's obviously not too damned hungry.

Remember the old saying, "beggars can't be choosers." You were holding up your end in offering. He should have said thank you and let it ride.

GAGAY said...

mmmmmmmmmmmm..! good! so happy for you!


arlene said...

For some who has never tasted meat, they will never eat. They will vomit. I am a moderate meat eater and a vegan in the making. I have a friend who is purely vegetarian and even the smell of a cooked fish pukes her. For me, i don't eat pork but i know if i have eaten one without my knowledge because i would really get sick.

I think the homeless guy is genuine in his being vegetarian. Whenever i see an unable beggar, id rather give food too than money.

PaulsHealthblog.com said...

Diva, that was nice of you to get the guy a meal.

However, I've always heard beggars can't be choosers? No?

At least not in this case.

Good job, Diva!

The World As I See It said...

Ha, ha, ha...
Diva, your blog today made me laugh, because it reminded me of a similar episode.

I once worked at a radio station in Upstate New York, and across from our building was a small park where the homeless used to congregate. Every morning, noon, and at the end of day, they would gravitate towards the entrance of our building to hit up the working people who were coming and going.

Sometimes, I'd oblige their requests for some loose change, and other times I'd keep it moving. It gets blistering cold in Buffalo, and anyone with a heart can't help but feel sorry for them.

There happened to be one diligent young man who seemed to be there every day and was relentless, hitting up virtually everyone passing by.

After tiring of his constant and repetitive appeals, I one day offered to buy him a low cost meal from a nearby organization which catered to the needy. To my surprise, he informed me that he'd eaten there a few times and did't like the food. He said that he preferred the food at the Chinese restaurant around the corner, and asked if I'd buy him a $7.99 lunch special from there.

Since I had offered, I did buy him lunch, but kept asking myself, "How can someone homeless be so particular?"

I must admit though, that was the last time I offered to buy lunch for a homeless person. It's cheaper to just hand them the loose change.

attygnorris said...

That was very thoughtful of you to buy him a meatless lunch. I think I would just be thankful for WHATEVER goody someone was willing to give me. I may have had a problem with his being picky while begging (unless the meal wasn't edible). I don't know. I think you were better than I would have been in this situation.



I admire that person! I am a strict vegetarian almost vegan and people have asked me if I would give in and eat meat or die. To me eating any kind of animal is beyond repulsive and I really don't know if I could do it. There have been times when I was very, very, very, very hungry and just could not give in. I think once you get it really in your mindset it is virtually impossible to do. I am pretty fanatical about it. What a guy!


p.s. very, very nice of you to buy him a meal.

jacqueline said...

Hey Diva,
Now...that really took some effort on your part. I don't bump into many strangers like you. Maybe you are an angel. :-)

I'm not a meat eater, but if I'm pushed into a corner..."May I have some BBQ sauce and a napkin, please?"

Sorry Heidi. :-)

Matt said...

Diva, 1st of all - good for you for caring about this guy when you know he very well could be scamming you. I have had a few run-ins with these folks who cry and tell you this sob story and take your money and head right to the next sucker or the liquor store. As long as you are doing the right thing (which you did) that's all that counts.

2nd, I love the way you told the story. "..."hey...I won't give you money, but I'll buy you some lunch. You want a double cheeseburger meal or something?" Not even just a hamburger but a "double cheeseburger"! And then you were like "huh?", that cracked me up. I can imagine that was the very last thing you were expecting him to say.

But, since it was so cold out I would love it if he had said, "no but could you run over to Starbucks and grab me a Venti soy milk decaf Chi latte with one Sweet-n-low?". 8-)

MySweetThree said...

That post had me laughing out loud...I am not vegan..but good for him for sticking to it! lol!!

EastCoastLife said...

I respect him for sticking to his choice. But I guess he would change his mind if he is starved for days.

That's a good deed you did, buying him a meal.

Hey, you gotta go China when they are celebrating Chinese New Year. It's the biggest and most elaborate celebration for Chinese. :)

The Fitness Diva said...

Laura, I'd be more grateful than picky if someone decided to be so kind enough to help me out!

Jan, I agree. If it came down to life and death, I'm sure that quite a few would choose to eat that meat and live!

Awww, Dwayne, thanks for the kind words! ;)

The Fitness Diva said...

Azure, I'm thinking he wasn't THAT hungry after all, eh? ;)

tahtimbo, I don't like to give money either. If I have food on me, I'll give that instead.

Leo, I see that many vegetarians are into organic foods, so in that way, I guess it can be more expensive.

LOL, Sheila, you are like I am on most days. However, that cold weather did soften me up a bit. On a better day, I'da just kept on walking! ;)

The Fitness Diva said...

gagay, be happy for the guy! He got a free salad! lol

arlene, that's interesting. It would be a shame for a true vegan to be in that situation, then, wouldn't it?

Paul, beggars shouldn't be choosy, but you should see some of the ones we run into here in NYC. They've got some balls! :D

Terry, you were kinder than I'd have been in that case. 7.99 lunch special? wow! I'da handed him a quarter and walked on! lol

Davida, I was definitely the nicer version of me that day. Most days, I won't stop at all.

The Fitness Diva said...

Yeah, Heidi, good that he can still stick to his guns even though he's down on his luck. He should work on supporting his own vegetarian habits, though! ;)

Hey, Jacqueline, I didn't know that you were a vegetarian. But, yep, I know that I'd give in even if I were in the right situation.

Hey, Matt, thanks. There are so many homeless here that you do have to become a bit desensitized to the amount of people you come across asking for something. Some are sincere, some are just alcoholics and junkies trying to support a habit. telling the difference can be really hard in some cases.

MySweetThree, it was a funny situation, for sure! ;D

I think he might change his mind, too, and thanks, East Coast.
Yes! Coming to China is a BIG dream of mine!!! I really do hope to make it there next year! :D

Cascia said...

Wow, what an interesting post. I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian but if that man was really starving I'm sure he would have eaten the burger. You were very kind to buy him a salad, fruit and a drink. I see homeless people all over here in Sacramento. They usually hang out just outside our local Wal-Mart. I'm like you I don't think I'd be able to give them money but I've thought about buying them a sandwich. Most of them are middle aged men too. I don't understand that.

Ricardo said...

Well, I'm no vegan but I applaud the guy for sticking to his principles in such a rough time.

Jude said...

There are many people that stick to their principles. I had an experience of someone in Reno coming in where I worked and asked for a for a grill cheese because he was hungry and had lost all his money gambling. My boss thought he would be nice and piled it high with ham also. The man declined the sandwich and asked once again for just a plain grill cheese. I think I would have choked on the sandwich my self because someone had been so thoughtful, but you are what you eat?

Robin said...

Hi Fitness Diva,
I enjoyed this post very much! Thanks for sharing this with us. I just wanted to say that God sees all the kindness that we do here on earth and I believe you will be rewarded for helping out others in need. That would of been a great feeling and take care. :-)

Rhonda said...

Interesting story! Very nice of you to buy him a meal and honor his wishes. My daughter is vegetarian and she would have to be pretty hungry to eat anything with meat. I think she would stick to her beliefs unless it was do or die.

Sky Yoga Studio said...

Nope, been a vegan two decades and counting and would not eat meat if hungry. It is not more expensive to be a vegan either. Pasta is 99 cents per lbs and if you need sauce, you can buy a jar for $1.99 - that can last you several meals. Most people get more than enough protein in their diet - fresh veg and fruit aren't that expensive if you don't buy into the organics. I think meat at $24.99/lb is pretty darn costly - tofu is $1.49 per lb - where can you get quality meat for that price?

seekngsane said...

hmm..good for you ,number one! I went out and bought coffee and a roll for a poor man in a wheel chair who hangs out at the train station but anyway..ON another note, I think that just because one is poor, doesn't mean they will eat anything put before them! Firstly, I am poor as I am completely disabled due to accidents both at work and by auto. Secondly, I have allergies and an aversion to junk like one gets sadly at food pantries. No they are not fresh produce but canned veggies full of salt which aggravates my health which is already compromised,and bad meat. I know as I have gotten sick on it! I am living on meager allowance from the government monthly and am having a very hard time making ends meet what with the cost of rent,fuel,utilities and food, even with the little I get in food stamps.


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