Ignoring a Beggar

I just had another encounter with a beggar that left me feeling sad. No matter how many times this happens and no matter how many times I tell myself that what I am doing is ok, it still feel like a bad person.

I was waiting at the bus stop when the man approached me. He looked like a typical homeless person - dirty, unshaven and little crazy. He did not even bother to step onto the platform when he started mumbling to me. I was texting my friend at the time so I was distracted. In fact, I was not even sure he was talking to me until I put my phone back into my pocket. When I realized he was looking straight at me, I automatically assumed he was crazy because of his quiet mumblings.

I ignored him and he continued to stare. A passing taxi honked at him which broke his focus and forced him onto the platform, but soon after he continued to mumble and stare at me. My plan was to keep ignoring him until he went away, but it took much longer than I thought it would.

Right before he left, I faintly heard him mumble, “all you have to do is say 'no' man.” It was then that I realized that he was probably asking for money the whole time.

This entire experience left me feeling miserable. I know that it was not my fault that I did not hear him, but just trying to see this from his perspective makes me disappointed in myself. I should have asked him what he wanted even though I thought he was crazy and even though I would not have given him any money. It was wrong of me to completely ignore him when it was clear that he was talking to me.

I wonder if beggars incrementally lose hope in humanity every time this happens to them.