Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

May I have $42?

on January 18, 2012

panhandler-1I was in the parking lot of Babies R Us today strapping JJ into his car seat and was stopped by a woman in a late model car with a pre-teen/ teenager in the passenger side and a toddler in the back.  She began talking about how I looked like a nice guy and she’s a nice lady and the world is crazy blah, blah, blah. As I don’t typically small chat in the parking lot, I cut her off and asked what she needed. 

She started off by flashing a driver’s license and explaining she needed medication for her child and that she didn’t have the $42 to pay for it. She said she’s a single mother that’s fallen on tough times and $42 would solve her problems.

I thought for a second (is this a scam? does she need it? what happened to asking for $1? her rims look nicer than mine…) and before I tell you what I did, what would you have done? 

I felt for the situation she described and know of plenty of friends and acquaintances struggling through this and that. I couldn’t help but imagine being in those shoes having to beg on your child’s behalf if push came to shove. However, part of me also thought it was a scam as she found money for her car, clothes, etc Heck, she might have had an IPhone and a Grande Latte that I didn’t see.

Yet, I’ll never know if her story was true and such is the nature of spontaneous giving. I once read a study about how people will only give to panhandlers that appear to need it. If a clean cut homeless person with clean clothes and clean hands and nails approached you who literally had nothing having lost his job, house etc, you probably wouldn’t give him anything if he told you the truth about his situation. However, “dirty” up the same guy to fit society’s stereotype of a homeless guy and suddenly wallets start to open as he looks like he needs it now. This is a never-ending struggle as the homeless need to look more desperate than they are as we continue to question their motives and situation in the blink of an eye.

I sincerely hope this woman needed the money and that it went to her son’s medicine.  I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for kids and hungry people.  You’ve seen what I eat routinely, so I can’t help but feel incredibly fortunate and equally guilty when I see someone hungry. As long as I’m in a position to help, I will continue to help and look forward to teaching my son about being humble, giving back, and appreciating everything and everybody in his life. We are truly lucky indeed!


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