On one of his early morning runs in the Marsiling area, Redditor HeavyArmsJin saw an elderly person sitting alone in the middle of a pathway.
He had seen the same elderly person, whose gender was not specified, on a previous jog. The elderly person was pushing along a cart filled with several plastic bags filled with stuff, which HeavyArmsJin thought to be the person’s belongings.
He wanted to help the person but wasn’t sure how. So he asked the Internet.
“I can’t tell what race the person is from a distance… (I) don’t know what reaction I will get from the person with a strange man approaching him/her in the middle of the night,” he said in the post, which included a picture of the person with his cart.
The Redditor also said it could be cold throughout the night, adding: “I feel I should at least do something, but how?”
Plenty of Redditors responded positively, with some suggesting HeavyArmsJin should get in contact with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to provide assistance, or to accompany the elderly person to a nearby Family Service Centre.
A few pointed out that that would require the elderly person’s consent, which could delay any help given to him or her.
One user, DuePomegranate, warned HeavyArmsJin that the elderly person could have rejected help before and may not appreciate him involving the authorities. He also suggested that HeavyArmsJin offer the person a blanket.
Another user, Kanteater, suggested that HeavyArmsJin could bring the elderly person some food, drinks, clothes or other necessities. “You don’t need to say anything, just gestures will do. Body language is universal,” he pointed out.
Opinions were divided over suggestions to give the elderly person money, with those against it commenting it could do more harm than good if there was a drinking, drug or gambling-related issue connected to said elderly person’s current situation.
Redditor Kanteater, though, offered an alternative: “It is not the most cost-efficient for an individual to purchase perishable goods for him/herself – for example I can make a sandwich from home, (get) some juice and it will cost me next to nothing, but if he wants to buy, he will have to buy a whole loaf, a jar of jam and maybe some jam spreading apparatus.”
Another Redditor, Dashrandom, said: “Money is great but you know what would be awesome? If you sat down on the same pavement and shared a meal with them. They would definitely understand that regardless of language barrier.
“Buy some Mac (Mcdonalds) or some (packet) food and do hand gestures to ask if they want to eat and sit down and have a meal with them on that pavement.
“Let them know that just because they are homeless, it doesn’t mean they aren’t human,” he added.