Sunday, October 01, 2006



How many times have you seen someone holding up a sign like this,"Will Work for Food?"

Well I have seen this so much that it has become normal for me to drop a dollar or two in their container. One of the main reasons that I did this was because my mother had taught us that we should help people because it could be that we ended up in a bad situation and we would want someone to help us. The other reason was this, we don't know if it is an angel testing us to see if we have the spirit of love and giving. Mom always thought that it could even be Jesus in human form who we were turning our backs on. She always told us that God wanted us to help even the smallest of his children. We often heard the phrase, "to whom much is given, much is expected". So if I saw someone in need I would drop whatever I could in their money collector to help.

That is until I saw this beggar. He came into the building that I work in, which is inside a bank building. He leaned his sign up against the building and pulled his dirty hat off and walked in. The tellers' greeted him by name and he took out his bank and check book and deposited his money. Then he walked out the bank, put his dirty hat on and covered his head with a hood, picked up his signed and walked around the block from our office and started to beg again.

For some reason that pissed me off! I know hard working people who don't have a checking account but here was a person who opted to beg and he walked into a bank like a corporate executive, greeted the folks, smiled and chatted and deposited his hard earned money. Yet on the corner begging he wore a different face. He looked sad, dejected and in need.

How am I supposed to want to help folks who are really in need, when we have folks using this as a scheme? A lady was holding a sign that read, "I lost my job and I am losing my house." Folks were dropping money in her can but I passed right by her. I can't be like that, its' not in my character. But I knew that guy was not in need. You should have seen him with his pretty blue eyes; he even had clean clothes under his dirty clothes.

When I first saw him, I ran and got my secretary and two of my workers. The next day my secretary saw him on another corner and he stared at her. I heard about people like this who are making a great living pretending to be down and out but that was the first time I actually saw the person switch their roles. I can't let this affect how I help those who are in need. I am sure that karma will be hard for him to take for what he is doing.


17 comments:

Xavier said...

Rose,

Your post got me thinking. I stopped giving to beggars years ago and for the same reason. But your post touched me. How many truly needy people have I ignored because of a few crooks. Perhaps more importantly, how many angels?

Jez Chill said...

After reading some cop blogs, it was clear that I would not giving money to beggers anymore. They are not suffering like they want you to believe.

chele said...

You can't allow this person's behavior to alter your own. Perhaps if you see someone with a sign like that you could buy them a sandwich. Or if they are out in the rain, give them an umbrella. This would be a better alternative to giving them cash.

Luke Cage said...

You gotta love Chele's perspective. And I came to this conclusion because I saw that happen many a time in NYC. A down and out guy had his hands out saying that he wanted money for food.

And while I was leery about giving him money, I attempted to give him the untouched McDonald's food I had just purchased instead. He turned it down. Without even looking to see what kind of food was in the bag. I was like.. okay, I guess he wasn't so hungry after all. Can you say Con Artist?

Then just a couple of months ago in the Lowe's parking lot, a hispanic man walking around with his beautiful little daughter (she couldn't have been more than 6 or 7 years old) had a sign saying stuff like, "he'd just lost his job and is preparing to lose his house. He's an immigrant and doesn't speak english very well, and wanted to know if I can give him money."

I shook my head no, but I remember feeling angry at first and then sad. What if he was a conman, using this little girl as sympathy.. then I thought again, could he have been a real guy, had really lost his job and on the verge of losing his house? Its sad. As always, the bad people make it lousy for us to believe the good ones. Good post Rose.

Dee said...

That sucks!!!!! i heard a similar story of a man who begged in the same spot day in and day out and parked his b.m.w. around the corner.......

brooklyn babe said...

"Driving Dirty..."
this is a blog-by to say Wassup!

In my woods, I don't see the signs as much, just empty hands out, I often give a pc of my lunch, if there so hungry, they can't eat that, if they frown, then I know... that's not their top interest.

bK bABe

Cami said...

My sister always gives to folks she sees with the sign, standing on the side of the road. But she gives food, not money. Her theory is, if someone has a drug habit or something, they'll appreciate a Big Mac more than $5 that may go toward a drug fund.

Lydia said...

Rose,
I know exactly what you mean. I saw this guy today he was either drunk or very high but I just could not give him any money. It is these type that makes it hard for the good ones. I go by my inner spirit, if it tells me to give , I give, if it tell me to keep going, I keep going. The Bible says, "if a man does not work he does not eat.

Hassan said...

It's hard to decipher... Here in Chicago, it's like a second job for some.

Brownsoul said...

I've always been taught that you never know who you're helping, but the truth is that a lot of folks take advantage of kind hearts. If someone is begging outside of a restaurant for food money but then turn down an offer to buy food, I can't have any sympathy for them.

Paula D. said...

That is messed up!

LadyLee said...

You know, I've seen estimates that the beggars make 20-30,000 per year begging... and all of it is tax free...

Yet we cannot let it stop us from helping others. It is terribly difficult though. But you may find it easier to give to something organized, like a shelter, or through church... the issue becomes that you are sowing a seed out of the goodness of your heart. That is what is of overall importance. Someone getting over on you? No. When you look at the whole picture, no one gets over... eventually it will all catch up with them.

i understand how you feel though. Let your faith go past your feelings.

TTD said...

i heard stories like that too.. which is why i would love to help those in need, but i cant be sure they're really in need.. and then a lot that are in need.. instead of using the money to eat, they use it to get high.. it's a tricky situation

urban butterfly said...

I feel you Rose.

There are alot of beggars in the DC area. And when I have, I give. I also thought about the fact that some may be making a career out of begging, but that doesn't stop me from giving. Like you said, I also believe that karma will get those who are dishonest.

Ruben said...

I have tried to get all hard core and not give to someone who asks and then the "guilt" grabs me by the face and shakes me to the point where my wallet is out of my back pocket and I am giving money.

ILLstate said...

I think it's the new hustle.

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