A Piece of Candy on the Train

A Piece of Candy on the Train


By Lynda Lopez, First Year, University of Chicago

It was a Saturday morning and I was sitting in a red line train towards The Loop. There was nothing really to look at besides cars zooming by on the expressway, each one moving towards a destination.  

I gazed out the window to pass the time, when I suddenly heard a man speak.

"Can someone spare some food?"

I was taken aback by this request because I was so used to hearing homeless men ask for money, not food.

"Can someone spare a sandwich for a homeless man? Or water? Or some candy? Please, anything?"

The man's requests pulled at my heartstrings because his requests were tangible. He simply wanted food for survival. As I looked into his eyes, I saw his sadness, his hunger, and the same eyes I had often seen on other men too many times to count.

During high school, I was often approached by homeless men asking for dollars and quarters. Their faces always compelled me to want to give.

A dollar here and a quarter there.

Eventually, though, I stopped giving. It's hard not to be skeptical about the way your money is being put to use. Was my dollar used for food? Or for another vice that perpetuates the homeless lifestyle?

These thoughts went through my mind and I wondered about the state of this man on the train. How many times has this man asked for money?" Why is he asking for food this time around? Has his hunger overcome him?

Even though I wanted to help the man, I had no food with me. Food is not something I typically carry around.

 Luckily, two students, a woman and a man, on the train heeded his pleas.

 They gave him a bottle of water, a grapefruit, and an apple.

The man thanked the woman and the man for their generosity and sat down to eat. I was left with a warm feeling inside.

However, ten minutes later the man asked for food again.

Where does this cycle of hunger end?

Our society gives and gives. In college, giving back is a pivotal creed.

However, is all this giving leading up to anything? Or is our giving simply delaying someone's hunger, someone's pain?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Chicago, Food, Red Line, winter

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