This evening, I invited our visiting obstetrician to join me for supper at my local restaurant, Mai Thai. We sat out under an awning to protect us from the weather. Just after we’d finished eating, two bedraggled Burmese children sneaked into the courtyard to beg. They looked about 10 and 14 years old and were soaked to the skin.
I make it a point not to give money to beggars, but my companion said, “Why not buy them some food to eat?” We got the cook to rustle up two plates of rice and veg, while the children sat at the next table and chatted to the Burmese waitress. She made them feel at ease while their meals were being prepared.
The children were starving and wolfed down their food. As they left the restaurant to go back out into the rain, I gave them my umbrella. I just live a hundred metres from the restaurant; I’d no idea how far they would have to walk in the rain to get to the place they called home.
There was no obsequious gratitude, not even a word of thanks. Perhaps I just detected a nod of the little boy’s head as he left, trying to catch up with his sister who was holding the brolly. Buddhists believe that those who give to the poor or donate to charity do not need to be thanked as they are already earning “merit” for their good deeds. That seemed fine by us this evening.