Awkward moments in the morning

Every time I step out of the train in the morning, I need to walk this past older gentleman who hands out free newspapers in the train-station. I think he gets paid a nominal fee for the service he provides. But since I read those very same newspapers on the train, I do not need to get a newspaper from him. And that fact torments me.

When I walk past him, and not take the newspaper he offers, I feel a sting in my heart. Am I robbing him of his income? What should I do? I don't want to get a newspaper, since I have already read it. So it's better for him to hold on to the paper and give it to someone who has not read the paper yet. Should I just look at him and shake my head when he offers the paper? I have tried that, and he always seems to disappointed. I have recently tried to hasten my pace and look away, but that feels even worse.

Sometimes it seems that life is one small awkward moment after another.


dr witmol said...

Smile and nod in acknowledgement but don't take the paper. That way you show some empathy but don't commit to taking anything from him.

One day, when it is cold, offer to buy him coffee.

Janne said...

I guess the nodding might work. But what if the interprets that that as an interest in getting the newspaper?

As to coffee... Well, he's not a beggar or anything. In fact, I have seen him when he's "off-duty" and he seems like a regular middle-class person. It just happens that his work involves being outside handing newspapers. Just buying him a cup of coffee would be considered very strange in this society.