Who would ever threaten to kick a 5 year old girl asking for food? Yell in her face, "If you don't get out of my face, I'll kick you really hard." Watch her scurry away in sheer fright of being hurt. My jerk of a cousin did, that's who. When he did that, I never wanted to injure someone more than I wanted to injure him right there.

While in India several years ago, one of the most interesting things was seeing the amout of western culture penetrating Eastern Society. Everything from Paan Shacks constructed from corrugated metal and scrap wood with pepsi ads painted on top, to posters of the Godzilla movie on the side of buses with people sitting on the roof. The pinnacle of this cultural melting pot was the McDonalds restaurant in Bombay.

As I went to the trusted American institution to see how it was different on the other side of the world, I ordered my Maharaja Mac (their version of the Big Mac, only made from Mutton instead of beef), and a coca-cola, I sat to have my American style meal. The only difference was that they had spicy sauce along with the Ketchup. Leaving the McDonalds with my soda, which I never managed to finish, was something that led to this hideous confrontation.

Outside of the McDonalds must have been at least 30 or 40 starving homeless children, begging the exiting patrons for whatever bits of food or change they may have brought. A little girl, no older than 5 or 6, came up to me, put her hand at the bottom of my drink cup, and asked for it. My cousin, before I had time to reply, stepped in, shoved her aside, and told her to "get lost." She stayed put, didn't say anything, only to become the victim of my cousin's shouting and abuse.

I wanted to give her the drink. I wanted to go back into the restaurant and buy her a whole meal. But that couldn't happen. Never had I ever felt so low. In my eyes, I would have rather been related to the most desperate beggar on the street than my cold mean cousin. All this time, I still had this drink in my hand.

I couldn't drink it anymore. It just didn't feel right. As we walked up and down the sidewalk looking for our driver to pull up in front, I left my drink on a little ledge for one of the kids to come get it. When we turned around and walked the other way, the drink was still untouched. I picked it up again hoping to hand it to the little girl. But she was long gone. The next best thing was handing it over to a pair of little boys, no older than 7 or 8, who asked in the same manner as the little girl to have my drink. At least I was able to pass it off to them before they were abused by my cousin.

One of the worst things you can do to a homeless person asking for spare change is to ignore them completely. That tells them that they're not even human, they don't even exist. At least have the courtesy to say, "Sorry, don't have any." But only someone who's truly subhuman will deride them to the extent that my cousin did.

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