Across the street from my hotel there is an overwhelming, American-style shopping center.
I was headed over there for lunch when a girl of around 12 and her younger sister (maybe 5) approached me. The little girl was crying - kind of exaggerated sobs and the older girl asked me if I’d please buy them lunch. They both looked dirty and a bit ragged. She said, please I don’t want money, but we’re hungry so will you please buy us something to eat. My initial - quick - reaction was to walk away. It reminded me of an incident at a McDonald’s in St. Petersburg a few years ago. There was a mother with two small children. The children were looking up at the board, crying. but the mother clearly didn’t have enough money. It was truly heartbreaking. I’ve always regretted that moment because I sort of didn’t have the guts to do anything. Like everyone else around, I just walked away.
This time I stopped. I said, where are your parents - she said they’re outside but they have no money. So I said, come with me. The little girl immediately stopped crying. They followed me up the escalators to something like a food court - with many Turkish fast food places and one Burger King. Burger King is what I know so I took them there. I ordered some chicken fingers and a burger and the man asked what would I like to drink. I asked the girls and the older girl said, whatever you choose. I ordered them ayran which is a Turkish yogurt drink instead of a pepsi. I told the man to give the food to the children and said good-bye and walked away. I don’t think they even noticed me anymore at that point.