Homeless Woman

I had an encounter with a homeless woman. A social encounter. Here's what happened

It was a Sunday, early evening, 2 hours before sunset, and I was visiting my nearby urban wilderness site at the river where I often go, to take photos of the birds there. And get some exercise walking the river path. That day while walking I noticed a 30-something Latina walking on the steep concrete riverbank directly below the path. She looked in reasonably good shape but a bit dirty and disheveled in shorts and a t-shirt. Maybe homeless. She was carrying a broom. What was she going to sweep? The river bank? She passed by, we smiled at each other. I turned my attention to the river and looked for birds to photograph. A few minutes passed when I looked for the woman, curious to see what she wanted to sweep with her broom. She was gone. Not visible anywhere. Was she a ghost? A witch? Was I seeing things that weren't there?

I continued my activity and walked the river path for a bit. I took some pictures and started walking back, ready to leave and go home. I looked down the riverbank and saw the head of the homeless female appear in the large drainage hole in the side wall of the concrete riverbank. She was sweeping. Oh, that's where she disappeared to. That's where she was going to live her homeless life? In a concrete hole in the riverbank? I felt bad for her. 

I decided to give her some money, for food. All I had was a $5 bill. I called to her and showed her the money. She climbed the steep bank and I handed her the $5.

Me: "Here. Buy some food."

Her: "THANK YOU! That's very nice of you."

Me: "I feel bad. I wish I could give you more."

Her: "That's OK, it's the thought that counts."

Me: "So you're staying there in the concrete sidewall?"

Her: "For the night, yes."

Me: "Well, at least it's safe. And swept free of debris, thanks to you and your broom. Again, I feel bad that I don't have more to give you. Too bad I didn't win the recent lottery jackpot of $1.5 billion. Hey, if you can, spend $2 of the $5 and buy a lottery ticket. Maybe you'll get lucky!"

Her: "Yeah. Good idea. Again, thank you. You're very kind. Bless you."

We said our goodbyes and I walked away, sad. I hated to see a nice (and young and yes, attractive though dirty) woman in that life situation and felt bad that I couldn't do more. I did what I could but I would have liked to be able to give her at least $10. Or $20. Or more. She deserved it. And I felt bad that my city or state or country couldn't/wouldn't do more to help the homeless, especially the non drug-addicted non-insane homeless individuals and families. And I wished that I would win a huge lottery cash jackpot, a cash jackpot of hundreds of millions of dollars. And help more people improve their life.