I had just eaten my nutritious Jack In The Box meal. Driving out of the parking lot I spied a man crouched on the pavement with his sign. Oh, God. Feeling particularly benevolent, I opened my window and asked, “Would you like something to eat?” “No”, his answer came back to me. Wha? Seriously? A picky beggar? Made my commitment to never hand ca$h to panhandlers renewed with firm resolve. Okay buddy, may I never see you again. If we do cross paths again I may have to buy you a hamburger just to show you who is boss. So there.
Yes, my personal motto is never show cash to a panhandler.
In San Francisco I have been followed by aggressive panhandlers, or beggars (much more quaint) numerous times. I don’t know, maybe there’s a compliment in that. Do I look wealthy? My son, Lance, seems to think I am a mark for that very reason. Hmm. And Trevor thinks he is the actor…ha!
On a busy downtown street in Portland I was asked for some spare change. Sure, I have spare change, I thought, but you are not going to see any of it. Instead, I responded with, “I won’t give you a dime, but I will buy you lunch.” He was all over that, thanking me repeatedly as we walked to the nearby McDonalds. I stood in line with my new (bedraggled) friend. He ordered whatever he wanted. A double quarter pounder, large fries, and a vanilla milkshake. I paid and turned around to leave. From the point at which he received his food, to the moment I exited, he was calling out his thanks. Maybe it served as the best meal he had all week.
Don’t pass your cash to panhandlers. Be smart. Be proactive. And don’t hand your hard earned pay to anyone who refuses your offer of help in the form of a bite to eat.