Please don’t buy a cookie for the cute little girl who is hanging around my counter.
What you see is a cute little girl all by herself who gets only a free ice water. What you don’t see is that she will come back every day for at least two weeks and hang around the counter some more, hoping for more free cookies. She is not hungry- she comes here frequently and buys her own cookies (or fruit salad) with her own money. A free cookie will not help her in the least.
If you want to help this little girl (or the person you perceive her to be), donate books to her pitiful city public school library. Donate to the food pantry. Give your children’s old coats to a coat drive. Help the local the homeless women and children’s shelter. Volunteer your time at the Boys and Girls club. Yeah, those things are a lot harder than buying a cookie for a cute little girl, but they’re also a lot more helpful.
Do you really want her to grow up thinking that if she’s just cute enough and sad enough and helpless enough, strangers will buy her cookies?