A few weeks ago, Kelly and I were leaving our favorite coffee shop in Downtown Canton (Muggswigz) when we were approached by a man who was loitering around outside. He came up and said something like, “Excuse me. Are you from around here?”
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Well,” he continued. “I’m not. I live in Toledo, and I was down here doing some work. Now, I’m waiting for the greyhound to take me back, but I was wondering, if it’s not too much trouble, could I get 4 dollars off of you? I don’t have any cash on me, and I’m hungry, so I want to go across the street and get some McDonald’s.”
“You know what?” I said. “All I have is a five. Here.”
“Thank you! You don’t know how much this means! God bless you!” he replied. Then, the man returned to the spot were he was loitering.
Kelly and I got back in the car, and I said, “That pisses me off! He’s just standing there!”
“Well, what did you expect?” Kelly asked. “You don’t give money to someone and expect to dictate how they spend it. Just give or don’t and move on.”
“I don’t care how he spends it!” I said. “I assumed he would spend it on drugs. What pisses me off is that he told me he was going across the street! He’s not even trying to make it look like he’s going across the street.”
“So…you want him to lie to you some more?”
“All I ask is that he have a little work ethic! Panhandling is an occupation, just like any other. I just ask that, if he tries to create the illusion that he’s just looking for food to get money, he maintain that illusion until I can’t see him anymore!”
Kelly sighed. “I think you are ridiculous.”
“No! What’s ridiculous is the standard we hold our beggars to. We should really expect more! I feel ripped off now!”
My question to all of you, then, is, “AM I being ridiculous?” Should I expect this man to walk around the corner for 30 seconds to earn his pay? I, personally, don’t think it’s too much to ask!
On a related note, he approached us again yesterday. He didn’t recognize us, and I didn’t give him any money this time. I don’t expect him to remember everyone he talks to, and if he had gone around the corner last time, I might have given him more money!