If there is a line below pathetic, I have found it.
Many times, as I ride my bike around different cities, I am confronted with what few people like to see. There are few who give recognition it; then there are others who seek it out to give themselves some kind of pat on the back or believe that they are doing something good.
Here’s where I stand on the issue of “homeless”: if you have the ability to stand for 6-8 hours on a sidewalk and beg for money, you can walk across the street and get a job. WAIT! I know there are those out there who are mentally or physically disabled, but I think the percentage in truth is very low. And God bless him . . . if a man in the town where I live who only has use of one arm and in a wheelchair can work at Walmart as a greeter and give the warmest hellos to everyone who comes in, then there is NO excuse. Put down your sign that you are combat veteran (highly doubtful) and/or that you have kids to feed and get a job! No, no, no . . . don’t tell me that the economy has no jobs when nearly every fast food joint within a 50 mile radius has “help wanted” signs posted. But here’s what you’ve learned Mr. Panhandler: make minimum wage and pay taxes or take home $200 a day (cash) by begging. Where did I get that number? I’m glad you asked.
On Monday of this week, after work , I was hanging out at one of the local bike shops and a guy walks in. He states to the owner that he was there to buy the bike he looked at on Saturday. The man seems friendly enough and talked to everyone there. In conversation, I asked him where he worked.
“I hang a shingle,” he replied.
I nodded. “I bet roofing is hard work.”
“No, not that kind of shingle,” he said with a laugh.
I caught a glance and grin from one of the mechanics, so I pressed on. “What kind of shingle?”
“A sign, man. A shingle. I panhandle.”
Around this point, he pulls out $315 or so (in a wad of 1, 5, and 10 dollar bills) and pays for his bike. Of course, I pressed. “Man, you must do well.”
“Oh, it has it’s good and bad days,” he said, as he pushed the bike toward the door. “Most days I can bump over 200, if I’m in the right place.”
THAT, my friends, is below pathetic.
In most countries where this blog is able to be read, the opportunities to better yourself are there. There is NO doubt that there are people who do need help; but next time, instead of handing them money, ask them if you could buy them a sandwich or a soft drink. Items to keep warm would be a bonus to me, if I were homeless. Many times these requests or items are rejected. The holidays are a particularly lucrative time for panhandlers. Be careful about just handing money to strangers because you feel guilty about your success and nice home. I have even had someone to ask me if I felt guilty riding past the homeless on such expensive bikes . . . nope, I don’t. Why? I work hard to get what I have. Yes, I do give to charity and needy causes and volunteer at events, but I refuse to feel guilty. I included a few recent articles/videos that caused me to shake my head and show how far we have fallen:
It boils down to this: if a person has the ability to work, but guilts you into giving him money, it’s flat out theft by deception. He’s a thief. The two in the above articles should be imprisoned. I’m glad that in both articles someone was taking a stand against this. Keeping silent, knowing what is happening, is why this is a very rapidly growing problem around the world.