Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jumping to conclusions

In this day and age, you can't be sure about pan handlers. My heart goes out to those in real need. I have bought many meals for hungry people in fast food restaurants, and I have given money to bums on the street.

People have asked if I realized the recipient might buy booze or cigarettes. I say to that, I have my own vices, and if I was down and out and someone handed me a dollar, I'd buy M&Ms and be grateful for the opportunity to eat chocolate. So when I give, I give in good faith, without strings attached, and what the other person does is on his or her conscience.

I have been taken, and so has Bill. One day there was a family with small children at Target sitting outside their van in a grassy area at the stop sign. They were receiving a bundle of money, what with every one feeling sorry for the children, and the van out of gas as the man's sign stated. THEN, I saw the same family the next day and the next at other shopping centers. At dark, they got in the van and drove away. It was a way of life for them.

A woman came up to Bill on a parking lot and told him a story about her timing chain breaking and she had to get back home 30 miles away and needed $20 more bucks for the repair. I saw her on the parking lot and asked how she was going to get home. She claimed she would take a bus and said she had come to our area to purchase the timing chain. My man (and many more) fell for her shop talk about cars, and they dished out the dough. I watched them do it. I insisted she return our $20, and she said she had spent it. We were taken.

Downtown we've seen four young guys work four corners. It is obvious they are well dressed panhandlers, and not homeless. The guy who sits in a wheel chair on the highway on ramp claims to be a disabled vet. But he folds up his sign when he sees the police and wheels merrily away.

We are more cautious these days. BUT Saturday we were going to Walmart when I saw an older woman at the stop sign with cans of soda in each hand. A short distance away, there was a car with a younger woman sitting inside with the door open. A child stood outside the car with a suitcase.

"Turn around!" I told my honey. "That looks like  two women traveling, and they must be broken down. I'll buy one of her sodas for five bucks."

Bill whipped the car around, and we went back. That's when we saw a parking area filled with vehicles, kids with luggage, and adults kissing them good-bye as they boarded chartered buses for a camp experience. The woman with soda was giving a can to each camper as they drove onto the lot.

I stuffed my five in my purse and chuckled at myself. You never know. Listen to you heart.   


Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--Your post was poignant and funny/touching at the same time.

Val said...

Yes. Listen to your heart. Yours was in the right place, even though a bit misguided.

We don't get many panhandlers down here, but we have seen them occasionally near Walmart. One day my son The Pony made me stop as we exited the McDonald's parking lot. He took $20 out of his wallet, and handed it out the window to a guy sitting on the curb eating a Happy Meal. He had a cardboard sign that said he was a veteran down on his luck. And a scruff of whiskers, but not a beard.

"It's my money, Mom, and I want him to have it." The guy took it, and said, "God bless you."

We never saw him again, there or elsewhere.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You can't dwell on the generosity that was swindled, just know that you are sowing good seed and it is up to the recipient to make it grow. If we all stopped being charitable for being taken ..... there would be no charity left. We would be denied the joy of giving.

Susan Sundwall said...

Linda, when we had our computer shop in town, a blind man - blind!- convinced us to give him a computer. Later someone came in to tell us he was at a store in a mall just south of us selling raffle tickets! Gosh, do you think he kept the money? We all get taken, but our hearts are in the right place - theirs aren't. God is watching.

Bookie said...

You are a good person, Linda. I too have been taken and it is hard to stay level when you feel someone is using you. I have learned there are places to help and angles that take under pretense. We all do the best we can!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Scammers abound these days. My Dad never gave money to someone who said they were hungry. He'd take them to a nearby restaurant and buy them a meal. (This was before fast food.)

Dad often told about the blind couple who worked the city subways. It was a way of life for them as well.

Karen Lange said...

We have those scammer panhandlers here too - a way of life for them, which is a shame. Like you said, best listen to your inner voice about those things.

Connie said...

Well said. It's hard to know who to trust, but at the same time you want to be kind and sympathetic. There are some in our area who are always panhandling. Like you say, for some it is a way of life.

Pat Wahler said...

Sadly, in today's world one can quickly become jaded - something we must overcome.