Give a Dollar and Info on Cash Advance Loans
A Day of Giving and Criticism
As I was walking downtown after finishing a few errands, I spotted an older man standing near the entrance of a cash advance store. The guy looked like your typical homeless man, seemingly underfed, sloppy and weary-looking as he held up a sign that read: “Homeless. Whatever you can spare will help.” So, I placed one dollar and some change in his hand, and said, “I wish I could give more. Just be careful.” To my comment, he replied, “God bless you.”
Just then, a cherry red two-door Expedition revved up, the sunroof open, letting the pale sunlight reflect off of his male pattern baldness. With a pair of sunglasses on, I couldn’t get a good glimpse of his eyes. I could certainly hear him shout, “Sucker!” as he drove pass me.
I Meant Well…
I guess I could be labeled as a sucker. Yes, it’s true that I knew nothing of the man’s back story, and I offered him a dollar and some change. Yes, it’s true that for all I know he could be a drug addict, homicidal maniac, or a Level 3 sex offender roaming the streets.
If you’re wondering where you should give, check this out:
Who’s the Sucker?
When I got home, I told this story to my niece. With a wrinkled brow she observed, “You’re the sucker and he was driving an SUV with gas at almost $5 a gallon? He probably took out a cash advance to get that hunk of liability.”
Her comment made me laugh, but I contemplated over the incident many times over the rest of the day. While waiting for the bus, I’ve heard many people speak about a dude who regularly “works” a corner in my neighborhood. The general comments or remarks people make about the guy has been, “What a scam!”
What People are Saying
I read a thread on the talk-show host Michael Baisden’s message board (See: http://www.michaelbaisden.com/). Some respondents over there were harsh, titling beggars as “bums” or assuming that “most panhandlers are just lazy. They are a little too lazy to get a job.”
It discourages me when I hear generalizations like “most panhandlers.” There is no way we can know what “most” of a group thinks, feels, is or is not.
Of course the notion is that some of these people panhandle instead of a “square” job. This story is often ludicrous. You might have even heard a story or two about “affluent beggars.” However, I’m extremely skeptical that people would choose to stand around outside in all types of weather with no possible guarantees of any financial gain.
It isn’t impossible that some beggars are alcoholics or drug addicts who reject treatment. You might not want to in good conscience help a person kill himself – right? I have a few family members battling alcoholism, like lots of other people’s family members.
Remember, His Shoes Could Fit Your Feet
The man or woman holding the beggar’s sign might not be very different from you or me. Could be that he/she was laid off or had no other place to go after being evicted. She could have gone flat broke while beating cancer, only to be left high and dry because no one will hire her now.
Maybe because these same circumstances can happen to us, we harden our hearts. The reality of the situation hits too close to home.
Harming or Helping?
Sure, there is a likelihood that the money I have given could be spent on either Dollar Menu items or junk to feed an addiction. Truth is, I have no real way of knowing.
What I do know is that the guy in the SUV stayed in the comfy confines of his pricey vehicle. He didn’t even slow down long enough to humanize himself and look me or the beggar (someone “beneath” him) in the eye. It seemed to me that the SUV man forgot that he was a human being at some point and time in his life.
What’s Can I Afford to Give?
The uncomfortable recession we’re in might affect how much extra money we can spare, sure. Lots of Michael Baisden audience members spoke about barely making ends meet themselves, saying, “We can’t afford to give.”
I suppose I shouldn’t be giving away cents, let alone dollars, technically. I have no car, bills due and I make a living freelancing (unpredictable income). I should be tending my own yard, sort-to-say, rather than someone else’s. Truth be told, I do tend my own. I barely need cash advance loans at times. However, once my basic needs are met and I’ve put something up for a rainy day, there is money left over. Whatever IS left over goes to family and friends… oh, and strangers on the street.