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A predicament with a homeless customer.

trevor72694

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I am employed at a restaurant.  There is a man who comes in around once per week.  He is very obviously homeless, and a regular face at the soup kitchen my Church volunteers at.

My manager gives him a free coke once in a while, and I like to buy him a sandwich. 

My manager told me tonight that I had to stop or limit buying this man food.  He's afraid I'm being taken advantage of.  Facing facts, (and this is me saying this,) this man is also bad for business.  He smells terribly, is very dirty, and is sometimes inebriated with some substance or another when he visits us. 

I don't feel that I'm being taken advantage of.  It's never more than $6. 

How should I handle this?
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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That's a tough one. But I think there's a way to handle it. Perhaps you could buy him a sandwich "to go." Pull him aside and gently tell him that although he's not welcome in the restaurant, if he comes by once a week when you are working then you will be glad to buy him a meal to take with him. Ask your manager if this is acceptable to him. Explain that you don't want to lose your job, but that you also feel compelled by your Christian conscience to help this man. That's my humble suggestion.


Selam
 

genesisone

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
That's a tough one. But I think there's a way to handle it. Perhaps you could buy him a sandwich "to go." Pull him aside and gently tell him that although he's not welcome in the restaurant, if he comes by once a week when you are working then you will be glad to buy him a meal to take with him. Ask your manager if this is acceptable to him. Explain that you don't want to lose your job, but that you also feel compelled by your Christian conscience to help this man. That's my humble suggestion.


Selam
Very good advice. And, Tikhon, do you also volunteer at the soup kitchen? Since you know the man goes there, I'm guessing that you do so at least occasionally. Be sure to follow up your contact with the man, even if nothing more than a friendly and personal greeting.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Yes, all good advice.

I love the meal "to go"...and speaking with your boss suggestions.  You kindness to a stinky stranger may actually move the boss to do likewise for someone else.


 

TheTrisagion

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You could always play the clueless route and tell your boss that you don't mind at all and you are willing to chance the possibility of being taken advantage of if it means helping someone in need.  All kinda depends on your relationship w/ your boss.
 

scamandrius

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This is a tough one. You don't want to deny the man food and turn him away because of Christ's commands to love our neighbor.  At the same time, you don't want the business where you are employed to suffer because that could mean your job. At the same time, you don't want to be confrontational with your boss as that could also mean your job.

I don't see what the harm would be in buying this man a sandwich "to go."  Might I also suggest that you talk to your boss and see if you can arrange something where, at the end of the day, any unused food that would be otherwise thrown out goes to the soup kitchen where you volunteer?  You can take it over or get one of the other members of the church to help you out.  I think if you show your boss how important this is to you (and can be good PR), I think he may come around to you giving this man a helping hand (unless he's just totally heartless).  Just a suggestion.
 
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