And then there are the pitiful cases, like the toothless old woman who approached me in front of the Cathedral of Toledo. Sure, she might be a regular in the local business of tourist-fleecing, but it was difficult for me to simply walk by someone whose life seemed so far removed from the relative wealth I enjoy.
Or consider the woman with extreme achondroplasia who was begging in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid today, and who used some form of metallic prosthesis to get around. How can you ignore such people, especially in the presence of a towering church spire or when their physical abnormalities preclude gainful employment in the "normal" world?
Matthew 25:40 (King James Version) comes to mind:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.A Euro here, a dollar there; perhaps all I do is assuage my conscience, but I could not live with myself if I ignored every "least of these my brethren" I encountered.