The Invisible People

by: Lukas VanDyke, Lukas VanDyke Photography

Image via Wikipedia

I was walking towards the counter at the local Friendly Grocer when my eye caught the coloured man in the paint smeared blue overall pants begging to my right. As usual my nose wrinkled at the smell of his pungent body odour and I experienced a small feeling of disgust and revulsion. Trying my best to ignore him as he tried begging in my direction I paid and went to sit outside while waiting for my cheeseburger.

From the corner of my eye I saw him being chased out and continued to watch him as he took a seat in front of the laundromat. All the while praying fervently that he would not try to get my attention or ask me for anything more. As I sat in the shade of the umbrella dragging on my cigarette and sipping on my juice I suddenly noticed something. Every person walking past was trying their best to ignore him. Here was a man, a human being, and every person who walked past was doing their utmost to ignore his very existence. It was then that it dawned on me, that I realised how horrible that must be. To be invisible like him.

I sat there thinking about his smelly self and how he should take a shower and put on some deodorant. At the same time a feeling of shame crept over me. For I realised that this poor man probably didn’t have the money to buy deodorant or soap. Probably didn’t have the luxury of taking long bubbly baths or hot showers. As he drunkenly stumbled head first into a pot plant I wondered at the fact that I would probably be drinking too if people blatantly ignored me. Making me a non-person, a non-human. Giving me less compassion than they would an animal.

Yes, the stereotypical beggars are annoying people who want to take our hard-earned money and spend it on booze. They smell and they’re loud. They intrude on our personal space. Still, how cruel are we to treat them as if they were invisible? To turn them into a nothing in our peripheral vision.

It was then that I got up, walked over to him and offered him the better part of my grape juice. That I acknowledged his existence because no-one else did. I wanted to share this story because I think a lot of us respond in the same way. Next time you want to shrug off a beggar, at least offer them the courtesy of responding with a yes, a no or a hello. They are people too.



3 responses to “The Invisible People

  • victoriasharov

    Very descriptive 🙂

    Invisible people are usually angry, sad, depressed people that at times attack offers help from others..

    Sometimes they can’t help themselves.. But we can only attempt to help one by one~

    *~Be Beautiful~*

  • cinderella911


    I think it’s a lot like the story of the starfish – don’t know if you are familiar with it. I’m taking a few creative liberties because I can’t remember the exact wording but it goes a little like this:

    A man arrives on a beach to find that hundreds of thousands of starfish got washed out by the tide. He sees a little boy picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the water. The guy walks up to the boy and says to him ‘It’s useless, you can’t possibly save them, there’s simply too many, it won’t make any difference.’ The boy replies ‘It makes a difference to every starfish I save.’

    Perhaps we can’t help everyone or even seem to make a visible change, but even the smallest gestures still add up in the end. 😀

  • The Invisible People II « Thinking Woman's Brain Vomit

    […] Hi guys, some of you may remember the post that I wrote last year :- The Invisible People […]

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