My Encounter With a Homeless Man
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23-06-2013, 07:03 PM
My Encounter With a Homeless Man
I was looking at the different sections and I was unsure which one this topic would properly fit under. I do apologize if there was a better spot to put this.

Yesterday was my birthday and I happened to get a bunch of cash and some gift-cards to Barnes and Nobles. Today, I went to the Barnes and Nobles right next to my house to buy some textbooks on programming and game design. When I left, I had about a hundred and ten dollars in my pocket. As I was walking to the gamestop next door, a man in some ragged clothes standing next to a shopping cart stopped me and asked for some change. I gave him a ten dollar bill. We then chatted a little and he seemed nice enough(Though he did say "God Bless", which I simply gave thanks for and brushed aside). When I moved on, however, I felt bad. This man was sitting there begging for money and I still had a hundred dollar bill in my pocket. So, after leaving gamestop with a good 50 bucks left in my pocket, I handed him another 20 before I went home. I still felt bad, however, because I had around 30 bucks left in my pocket that I could have given him. I'd felt that I could have helped him a tad more.

When I got home, however, my parents had a different opinions on the matter. My dad felt that I'd given him a bit too much, which is understandable, but my mom took it a little bit further. She told me that they were all liars and didn't deserve anything. They were both a tad irritated, but since it was my money, they let it slide.

Frankly, I was left a bit confused. We aren't poor but we aren't the richest family around. We've had our fair share of hardships. I couldn't really understand how my mother had held such resentment towards these people and towards my small act of generosity. My parents are by no means conservatives or republicans and this wasn't really the reaction I'd expected from them.

Where do such mindsets come from? To me, it seems that every time I go out shopping or to collect something, I see homeless men sleeping upon benches or holding up signs in a plea for help and most people just drive or walk on by. Where does such resentment or mere apathy towards their situation even come from?

Just thought I'd share.

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23-06-2013, 07:31 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
Its always a tough call. When you get burned enough times by beggars your view changes.

I don't give handout anymore to street people after an incident I had. This ragged, older woman was holding a sign at a street corner asking for money to buy a bus ticket to go home (wherever that may have been). I was with my wife and we told her to get into the car where we drove her to the bus station some miles away and handed her $100, wished her luck and drove off.

Next day guess who was standing on the same street corner? Yeah, we were had and pretty pissed.

Now all my charitable contributions go directly to my tenants who are in financial straits. Needy families that are doing their best to make ends meet. I know where they live, know if they are out working or looking for work and I have a very good idea if they are telling me the truth.

Any and all guilty feelings I used to have when I see these street beggars go away when I remind myself I'm already helping people in need.

"Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.” ~ Ambrose Bierce
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." - Mark Twain in Eruption
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23-06-2013, 07:37 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
I don't hand out money anymore. I know a few people who actually do this. Both are employeed. One of the men has trained his children to do it as well.

I guess that makes me selfish but I don't like the idea of being had. I can help in other ways.

The Out Crowd.
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23-06-2013, 07:51 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
I don't hand out money, I hand out food and drink. I see them standing by the street where you turn into the supermarket. I tell them to wait for me to come back. I buy them a bagful of stuff like bread and cold cuts and cheese and mustard and mayo, or sometimes one of those grilled chickens, and milk, a piece of fruit or two, and if they have a dog, some dog food. I throw in some cheap plastic knives and maybe plates and voila.

Costs me around 20 bucks and feeds them for a day.

Oh, and I have been known to throw in a cheap blanket in the winter.

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23-06-2013, 08:06 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
You displayed commendable generosity by helping the homeless man out, and you should feel very proud of yourself.

However, Full Circle, Hobbitgirl, and Dom bring up some good points. Panhandlers aren't always honest. In fact, some aren't even homeless. They're just lowlifes looking for free cash. It's ok to give money once in a while, but donating money to organizations catering to homeless people may be the better option. That way, you'll know for sure your money is helping someone in need.
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23-06-2013, 08:08 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
I dont help all of them,but i do help the local beggar a bit.
He rides a bike(yes ,a beggar with a bike) and sells paintings.
The paintings arent that good,but better than i can paint.
He asks for bread,old triplex,paint or charcoal.

I have like 20 paintings of him(each $2),and 1 time a friend wanted to buy one. I said he could take it for free,but he gave me $100 instead.
I bought 6 botles of paint,triplex ,mayo and bread and gave it to the beggar.

The only reasons i give him stuff is cuz:
1.he never asks money,exept for his paintings
2.he is doing some 'honest' work instead of robbing people.
3.he cleans my yard for $20
3.he is the first beggar i saw that puts some effort in earning money

I don't really like going outside.
It's too damn "peopley" out there....
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23-06-2013, 08:38 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
Guaranteed you will see someone with a cardboard sign at every freeway on-ramp and off-ramp. In addition to the same "career" beggars, I have seen a beggar's friend arrive with a beverage for him (no biggie) and then sift through his little assortment of signs that he had on the ground in order to find one that he liked. He then proceeded to a different corner. Lack of integrity, anyone? Additionally, one evening (after dark when the beggars leave) I couldn't help but notice at least a half dozen apples sitting on the ground where they stand at an on-ramp. The detail that struck me was that they had produce stickers on them. Clearly, someone had donated some actual food, but it was discarded since it wasn't cash. It's sad because there are people that are legitimately hungry, but you can never easily separate the charlatans.

The only money that I've given was to a violinist street performer. At least he was trying to earn it.

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23-06-2013, 08:39 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
In Gwynnite, it is "I love;" in Christianity, it is "sola fides;" but in the Tao it is most plainly spoken: act without anticipation. Heart

(See, Vera? I'm behaving myself. Big Grin)

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23-06-2013, 09:44 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
I used to donate regularly to the local food banks. I hesitate to donate cash to charitable organizations, knowing that so much is skimmed off the top to pay administrators' salaries, but it felt a bit better that every dollar I spent on my donation was going to help feed a family in need.

That being said, I recently overheard someone describing her routine of visiting a different food bank location in the city every single day. There's no central data bank that monitors for this kind of abuse of the system, and I was genuinely horrified to know that it was going on. It made me seriously reconsider whether I should support this enterprise. Like they say, the bad apples spoil things for the people who are using the resources the way they were meant to be used.

I've also heard about other abuses of public housing and again, I'm appalled at what I hear.

Another time, a young man was standing outside the grocery store asking for change to catch a bus to take him home. I didn't have cash on me, but I went inside the store and bought 4 bus tickets, which would have been enough for a round trip, and gave them to him and went about doing my groceries. When I came out half an hour later, he was still there, asking other people for change to catch the bus. I went in the store and reported him to the store manager.

I'm not in the habit of carrying cash on me so I tend not to give money to homeless people. I see the same people looking for handouts on street corners near the hospital where I work, usually around the time I am arriving for my night shifts, and some bold enough to wait outside the parking garage of the hospital and claiming to need change for the parking meters. When you confront them and let them know that you've seen them playing this game before and you're going to report them to the security officers, they get downright hostile and utter threats because you're ruining their source of tax free income.

I've had so many negative encounters that I doubt that I'll ever consider helping a stranger looking for a handout ever again.

. . . all the gods were stories we told the children to make them behave. ~ Thoros of Myr (Game of Thrones, Episode 3:06)
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23-06-2013, 09:57 PM
RE: My Encounter With a Homeless Man
I used to entertain the thought but a few trips to NYC and you just start to become immune. Sometimes I give em change if the situation is iffy and I just want to get them to leave me be. You want to really help them you have to give to charity, make political waves or give them a sandwich.

...A lot of them are going to shoot, snort or drink the cash anyway, which is why they aren't getting help through legit channels.

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