Open letter to the very friendly person on the street corner with the clipboard and the t-shirt that has the name of some organization that I'm sure has great intentions to do great things in the world,

Thank you for caring about the world or whatever issue has you standing on the corner enough to take a minimum wage position that really doesn't leave you with much satisfaction at the end of the day because you have to deal with people like me all day.

However, I do not want to sign your petition or give you my money. I appreciate that you say you only want 60 seconds of my time to educate me, but we both know that it will end up much longer than that. And, I would rather think about this world-changing issue a bit before scrawling my John Hancock in its support on that little line underneath the signature of a nicer, more caring person on your clipboard or handing you a bill from my wallet.

Really, I don't mean to be rude when you earnestly try to make eye contact with me, and try to get my attention by stating your need in a way that makes me feel like a bad person if I don't stop to talk and help you in your time of need.

But, you are not the only person who wants my attention, time, money, or support, and I do not know you; although I think I know your kind (I was you once upon a time).

I am going to try to walk past you without making eye contact, keeping my eyes on those of the child in the stroller I'm pushing a little faster as of this moment. I am going to say, "Save the oceans(children, dolphins, mountains, trees, birds, migrant workers, insert issue here)? No, thank you," as I walk past and confirm your implication that I am the root of all evil in the world.

I'd like to be more polite, but we both know that would just give you hope that I am the person you want me to be. I will smile at you, kind of a half smile, in the hope that it helps soften the blow a little and that it slows the hardening of your heart.

Move on from our interaction quickly because there is someone else coming who just might be the person of your dreams, but don't look at me like I mortally wounded you, striking a psychological blow of your own. Why invest the energy in something that was over before it even got started?

You will survive and go on to do great things. Our brief time together is over. And, I promise you, I will remember you more than you remember me, and maybe, just maybe, I will take some time when I get home to educate myself on both sides of the world-affecting issue you feel so passionately about.

a woman who cares passionately enough about the world to invest more than just her signature or a few dollars to your cause.
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