At the top end of the stairs of a pedestrian bridge we often use on the way to work sits a tiny old beggar lady. Her gray hair has been bleached yellow by the sun and her eyes look eerily large on her tiny sunburned face. Whenever she sees us appearing at the top of the other end her right hand shoots out in front of her in the hope that we’d have something for her.

Yesterday on the way home I noticed her sitting at the top of the stairs again and decided to pick up some freshly cut papaya from a street vendor for her. It was a really hot day and I thought a fruity snack would be appreciated. However, when we got to her and I held the bag of papaya out to her she dismissed it with a wave of her hand and clearly indicated to me that she was holding out her hand in such a way that she should be receiving money, not food.

I was pretty taken aback and continued across the bridge, stunned silent with Alexander giggling beside me at my shocked expression.

When we arrived at home I was still carrying the rejected bag of papaya with me. I decided to make smoothies with it at some point, so I put the whole bag in the freezer.

This morning I took out the frozen bits and threw it into the blender with some milk and a sweet banana. The result was a icy cold and fruity rich papaya smoothie with breakfast. So in the end I guess having my kind offering rejected worked out just fine.