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What do you do?

Sep 20, 2012 - 37 comments

So, times are tough and people are in bad situations financially.  This is well known and not new news.  The places that I find myself at regularly, Krogers, my usual grocery store and Target, my usual blow all my money store tend to be frequent stops of mine.  I'm one of a gazillion moms in my area . . .  driving the old mini van around.  I park in the back of parking lots a lot as this baby (my van) is wide and it's usally less congested back there.  About 3 months ago, at the grocery store, I came out and was loading groceries into my van when a woman holding a young child approached me.  "Excuse me maam, my car battery died and I need a couple of dollars to get home."   Hm.  I look around and see no car around her and the smell of BS is heavy in the air . . . but I go with her story and give her some money, asks if she is alright and needs help, ask if she needs to call anyone. No no and no and she walks away.  I leave not really paying attention.  Two days later, I'm back at the grocery store.  I get out of my car and guess who is busy working on another 'customer'.  I live in the burbs and out here . . .  if you have kids, you know a lot of other parents from school, the soccer fields, church, etc.  So, I actually knew who she was talking to.  I just waved as I went by and went into the store.  I could hear as I went by . . .  car battery, few dollars . . .  The girl was working the parking lot again.  

So today, I am about 5 minutes away from there and parked at the end of the parking lot when here comes a girl who looks a LOT like the one who approached me at the grocery store.  She has a different child with her.  The story was a bit different---  just moved to town, trying to open a checking account.  She has 25 dollars to put into the checking account but needs 25 to open it, can I help her.  What was different is that she was not a very good lyer and she was shaking and wasn't doing a very convincing job.  I load my things into my car as I listen to her story silently.  As I shut the back hatch to the van, I hear her say "oh no.  Someone told on me.  Here they come" and sure enough, a security guard and strore manager approached us and told her that she needed to leave the property immediatly.  She wheeled her stroller out of there with tears in her eyes.  

I put my cart in the return bin and then walked to the next parking lot where she was and gave her some money.  Not because I think she needs it to open a checking account.  But because something is clearly wrong.  Yeah, she could be a scam artist.  Okay, she IS a scam artist.  But I remember something from the bible that goes something like this----  if someone asks you for money, you don't need to know why they are asking-----  if you have it, give it."  Okay, that is not a quote and don't ask me what verse it is from.  That was my 'take home' message.  

It bothers me that this woman has these children with her and I'll tell you when the toddler girl tried to get out of the stroller today, she slammed her back a bit rough and used a nasty voice which made the little girl wail.  It was terrible.  

So, what do you do?  Trust that even if someone is taking advantage of you that you are doing the right thing to realize you can afford to be generous to others?  Or do you understand that there are crooked people in the world that lie and scam peopl?.  Honestly, if someone just told me that they were hungry and had no money, I'd help them.  I hate the car battery, new to town/checking account stories.)  

Anyway, this was on my mind because I do always wonders what happens after I pull out of the parking lot.  With this girl -----  I probably will see her around though as that makes THREE times.  

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184674 tn?1360864093
by AHP84, Sep 20, 2012
I have no tolerance for people who do that. However, I've given people begging for a meal or a couple dollars but they've been few and far between. Maybe they were scammers who were just that good, but with those that I have given to, I felt were genuine.
My husband recently let a group of three guys working our neighborhood "borrow" our lawn mower because they'd been around our block doing yard work for money and food for a couple of months. So he thought the guy would bring the mower back. I never trusted the guys from the beginning; they made me feel too uneasy and pressured to "give them a chance." They just gave me a really bad vibe. Well, my husband gave our mower over to the main guy who worked the speeches because the guy said their other mower broke down.
That was the last we saw of our mower...and the bums who "borrowed" it and promised to have it back the next day.
I feel no guilt or shame in having no tolerance for enabling the crooked and deceitful behavior of people like that. They make me angry.

2020005 tn?1476662562
by KTowne, Sep 20, 2012
I also have no tolerance for people like that, there are plenty of other ways to get the proper assistance, food banks, shelters, social services, etc. I can only think that they're probably getting public assistance and using the cash they're getting on cigarettes or anything else they can't get with food stamps. If she's lying about what she needs it for, I can't imagine she's being truthful in really needing it for anything useful at all. BUT I will say, you have a great heart!!

Avatar universal
by Londres70, Sep 20, 2012
Hey Kay...

I do believe in being generous and friendly, but if the person can't be honest.......I am so done with the situation.  I am a cheerful giver, but no where in the bible does it say "let someone make a fool of you" or "support someone's addiction with YOUR money."  Plus, I do all my giving with prudence.  

When that woman would have given me that "song and dance" about her car battery "died" and she needed a couple of bucks to get home and I saw NO car,  I would have then said "Well....let's take a look at your car."  Then, her story would have crumbled and then I would have been done.  Then, this woman started changing her story.....pfff.  If she had KEPT the same story then she might be more credible.  The situation reeks of "con artist."

Then this woman had the nerve to UP the amount of money to $25 from the couple of dollars the SECOND time she approached you.  Open a bank account and she is literally BEGGING on the streets for money to "open a bank account?"  She must think people are that dumb because she sure is.  Well.....someone probably would have given her the money for the bank account.   I would have told her flat out NO and if she had to beg for money to open a "bank account" then she probably shouldn't have one.  POINT OUT.  

I just think so many people are taking advantage of the economic situation and it is very difficult to weed out the "scammers" and the real people that REALLY need help for LEGIT things.  I am definitely not into supporting someone's cigarette habit, drug habit or alcohol drinking habit, etc.  Some people were living crappy before hard economic times came around; it has always been their way of life, i.e. the begging and so forth and wanting "handouts" for "this and that."  I am not for enabling people.    

I am all for buying food and perhaps tanking your car with gas, but that's where it stops.  It is just too difficult to sort out the bad from the good these days.....the world is so crazy.  

My two cents.....



973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Sep 20, 2012
It IS a crazy world.  I don't know why but I just couldn't feel mad at this girl.  What a life she leads, right?  Sure, she probably contributed to it by the choices she's made and I'm VERY curious who these kids are that she is using for the 'effect'.  But I can't get mad at her.  She's got problems of some sort and her tears when I walked over to find her in the other parking lot were no longer for effect . . .  I was nowhere near her and she had been told to move along.  I went about my business for a bit before going over to her with some money out of my purse.  

I've probably been scammed many times but in truth, I am fortunate to be blessed.  What I've given has never really hurt me and you just never know what is going on with someone.  

I'll still probably always be the sad sap who gives my extra cash to Joe Shmo that asks me.  

973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Sep 20, 2012
Oh, and I obviously never believe the stories told me.  It's not about that for me.  It's about not knowing WHY they are doing this and if it is for a REAL reason (that is different from the one they gave me but never the less real----)--  I feel like I can't say no.  I don't sign away my first born or anything or sign on the dotted line my life away--  but my little bit of cash spending money might be needed more than I need it.  I don't know.  

Interesting to hear how all feel about this.  Wonder why I never feel mad?  Maybe my pity gets in the way?  I don't know.  I guess i SHOULD be mad to be lied to.  

874521 tn?1424120397
by opus88, Sep 20, 2012
well specialmom, I'm all with you on this one, I guess we've both been scammed at least once....however I could never live with myself and walk away from anyone in need IF I were able to help out...not with much but at least with something. the few dollars you gave away even if it did go to support her addictions..(we don't know that for sure...) also showed her that there is someone out there in this cruel crazy world that does care enough to try.....who knows that small gesture of kindness could give her the boost she is looking for right now.
We can't turn our backs on everyone just because of the ones that are scammers...especially not when there are children involved..
bless you for your big heart♥

2083449 tn?1381358308
by Sonrissa, Sep 20, 2012
I have found myself in a few of these "situations"! I think they are almost all scams!! What absolutely infuriates me is when they use innocent children in their scams!! I usually simply tell them "no, I'm sorry I don't have any money to spare"! I've had more than a few people get angry at me and that scares me cause I am usually alone! I think they look for women who are alone!
Sometimes, if I have doubts about there story, and if I feel in my gut that they may be telling the truth, I will offer to buy them food! Everyone and I mean everyone has turned me down! Once I was comming out of McDonalds and I was approached in the parking lot, I told them I would not give them any money! I went back into McDonalds and bought a cheeseburger meal and took it back out to the person in The parking lot. He looked at me and said, no thanks I need the money, not food!  Once, I was approached in the parking lot of my grocery store, I again refused to give any money. I came out of the grocery store and found the person who was hitting up someone else, I gave him a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, and a couple of bottles of Gatorade! I live in Las Vegas and it was in the middle of Summer! This man actually got angry at me and said "What the Hell am I supposed to do with this sh*t"? That was it, that was the last time for me! Now, I donate food and money to my local Food Bank and Church!

I know that times are very tough for everyone! I don't see it getting any better anytime soon!  This is a really good post! Certainly makes me feel like I'm not alone when I struggle with what to do!

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Sep 20, 2012
It's tough out there right now.  This economic climate has overflowing shelters, and I can tell you that most of the social agencies are operating at capacity.  Jobs are tough to come by. Food banks in many cities are down to only allowing people to utilize them 3 or 4 times a year. I'm saying this to perhaps explain why a young mom might find herself driven to this.  Is she scamming?  Yep, no question about it.  However, you will find most of the homeless or those living in desperate poverty get pretty good at this...survival mechanism.

I'm going to say that I rarely rarely give money.  I do if I know the person.  That is because I will not contribute to a possible drug or alcohol addiction.  That is not always the case, but it is sometimes.  So, I give food.  Or milk, or whatever.  It's a judgement call though, and there are times I will give cash if I feel something is going on - much like you do in this situation.  

You don't feel mad because you are kind and generous and good.  You make me proud to call you my friend, you really do.  Here is what I always tell myself...yes, I get scammed.  But if I helped even 1 person, then it was worth it.  I wish there were more like you in the world.  

2020005 tn?1476662562
by KTowne, Sep 20, 2012
And I will also say, so I don't look heartless, I am ALL for going to buy them whatever they need, if they say it's for food, sure I'll take you into the store and buy you food, or if it's for gas, let me take you and get gas. I've learned this, SADLY, from my own father. He does have a drug addiction, and it is MUCH harder to tell your own family no. He goes in and out of sober times, and it's hard to tell where he's at. So if he says he needs money for food, I'll tell him sure let me take you to the store, most times he says okay I'll call you in a few minutes for a ride, and I never hear from him again. Unfortunately, where I live there are young kids that will get dirty looking clothes and do it just to be funny, it's very hard for me to believe most of the stories I get told these days, but it is definitely a judgement call, and I don't think it's a matter of believing the scam at all, you know exactly what's going on, and have a big heart to help her out!

2083449 tn?1381358308
by Sonrissa, Sep 20, 2012
I realize that after I read my reply, it sounds like I am cold and judgmental! I'm not and I do want to help, it's just that I hate feeling pressured and I hate when people use innocent children. I hate the elaborate stories that are made up. Don't tell me that you need money for food, and when I offer food, I am refused! This is something I really struggle with as it has happened to me several times!  I don't know what to do, and it seems like no matter what I do, I feel bad. Wish I knew the answer.....

973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Sep 20, 2012
Oh, I don't feel that way at all when someone posts that they don't give the money in those situations.  I don't think that someone is cold hearted or judgemental if they choose not to play along with the scam.  I'm not sure what compels me to go the other way.  I feel slightly annoyed when someone lies to me and basically treats me like I am not smart enough to see right through them . . .   I usually do.  I know that they don't have a broken down car or need money to open the account.  I just feel like I'm blessed enough to not have been driven to extremes of lying to people and begging for money.  I have pity for their life in that this is what they do.  

but I don't think this makes me a 'good' person.  I think I have a feeling that even if I'm going through a rough time, I'm still blessed.  I know that others aren't as blessed.  I feel that something that doesn't hurt me (like giving up a 5 or 10 in my pocket book) isn't much to pay for the price of accepting that I'm lucky and not everyone is.  Probably doesn't make sense, lol.  I'm talking jibberish.

It's one of those 'moments' in which you don't have much time to think and you react.  And it is okay either way anyone goes.

2996663 tn?1374172676
by witheredrose, Sep 20, 2012
You will have to understand that there are crooked people in this world. Maybe she wasnt one of them, maybe she just needed to feed her children and herself,  but didnt want to use that as the reason for asking for money. Maybe she was on drugs and needed money for more (ive heard people who use will do ANYTHING for money) and maybe she was using her child as a way to kind of make people feel a little bad for her. There are many reasons a person could have for asking random people for money, and I guess you never no what to think and feel an obligation to give them a couple bucks and just hope it is for what they say its for. You would think that if they go far enough to ask random people, they must need it for something, unfortunately sometimes it could be for drugs, but its that obligation, that other part of you that says "give them a few bucks least". Otherwise you walk away feeling a little guilty! We have people here, that I see sitting on a bench at the edge of walmart parking lot holding up sigh.s wanting money. I guesa the people do kind of look there in a bad place in there life right now.
Well, sorry for the kind of long comment! I think You are very generous to help her, even if you were a little suspicious of her! Just hold on to the possibility that she may have needed ot for somethimg important.

Avatar universal
by Londres70, Sep 20, 2012
I am with Sonrissa on this one, however, there's no "right or wrong" to this.  

Asking for money to "open a bank account" is a bit ridiculous.  Plus, using children for the "effect".....that's a no no.

I don't get mad at these people, but I am not going to enable people.  Plus, I don't sit and wonder why they are in the situation they are in.  Nothing wrong with saying a little prayer for them if you can't offer them anything else.  

I give to organizations and charities that I TRUST and KNOW.   My husband and I always give to charity and we have and still do ALOT for charities.  

Food and/or something to drink.....sure I will buy you something.

Money for a bank account.....NO WAY

Bottom line.....people give their money to situations they are comfortable with and I am just not comfortable giving my money to everyone.  There's no "wrong or right" to this.  

What's wrong with asking the person who is begging to be HONEST?  I don't like being lied to especially when someone is trying to get money from me.  Sure, times are tough for alot of people, but what ever happened to telling the truth?

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Sep 20, 2012
I also didn't mean to imply that anyone not giving money is cold hearted, and I apologize if I came across that way.  It's just so tough out there right now, and so few jobs.  I always recommend donating to a shelter or social agency, or to give food or other necessities rather then money, and that is typically what I do myself.  I just meant that it's also a judgement call, and when you are in the situation, you assess it and do what you think is best.  

Most people give in their own way.  And all of it is good...it might be time, money or items, or just a smile or kind word.  All of it counts and means something to someone else.  

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Sep 20, 2012
I do have to disagree with you though Specialmom....you are good and kind.  And I AM proud to call you my friend!!  Not just cause you helped out this women either.

2083449 tn?1381358308
by Sonrissa, Sep 20, 2012
Great post and discussion Specialmom! I'm so glad to read everyone's opinion and responses! This affects so many of us, and I'm getting alot from reading on how others handle this situation! Thank you!

And yes, I agree, you are good and kind!

2011481 tn?1374266267
by khawkins, Sep 20, 2012
I am the type of person that will try to help out as many people as I possibly can, but I find other ways toaht  do it.  If someone asks me for some money to buy food, I would rather buy them a sandwich then give them the money.... and 9 times out of 10 they wont take it because they want the money for something else.  

In your situation with the battery that died, I would tell her to she me where her car was, I would finish loading my groceries and give her car a boost.  She most likely would turn and walk away.  

I believe that people should help others in need, but sometimes it is hard to see through the people who are deceptive to the ones telling the truth.... BUT, the ones telling the truth would most likely be more happy and grateful for the boost than the cab fair!  That it is my thought on the situation.  

2083449 tn?1381358308
by Sonrissa, Sep 20, 2012
Just to add to the discussion,  as I mentioned I lived Las Vegas. There was a story on my local news a couple of weeks ago about unemployment and the economy and about a man who was begging money from people on the strip. He had a little scruffy dog with him and he had a sign that said "need money for food for me and my dog" Well, the reporter asked the man how long he had been looking for a job! The man told him that he didnt need a regular job because he made about $35,000 a year by begging on the strip! I thought it was amazing!

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Sep 20, 2012
One of my clients has a sign that says "Need money for beer"..lol.  Hey, at least he is honest about it.  It's funny because people laugh and actually give him money.  None of my clients make 35,000 a year though.  Mind you, in my city that would still keep you below the poverty line.

961574 tn?1505958942
by mhv, Sep 20, 2012
Sonrissa,

I was in Vegas last year, and I believe I gave that guy money!!! He was on the overpass walk on the strip.  His dog was so cute, I couldn't pass him up.  We see that in our town though.  A girl "asking" for $, with her designer clothes and expensive bikecycle.  My husband says she should dress down more, and get a beat up bike.  It's sad that a dew take away from the ones who really need help.  I always pay it forward by giving the cashier at the store 10 or 15 dollars and asking them to put it towards the persons behind me bill.

480448 tn?1426952138
by nursegirl6572, Sep 20, 2012
SM, you are such a generous, kind person, and it actually angers me a little that these people are sort of taking advantage of you, in a sense.  If I could guess, I would bet the reason it's hard for you to just walk away and give nothing is because you are the kind of person who would wonder what would drive someone to do something like that?  What is their situation like?  Do they have an abusive spouse who would beat them if they didn't come home with enough money?  Will their kids go hungry?  Also, you are VERY appreciative of what you have...and how hard you guys have worked for it.  I think you probably feel that that other person needs it, and you have it...and just maybe it will improve their day in some way or another.  Just a guess.  You're a smart woman, it's not like you don't know they're lying...maybe it's the unknown that just doesn't sit well with you.  You're a very empathetic person.  Funny thing is...you'd probably give them double if they came up to you and said, "I'm very lazy and refuse to get a job, got a 5-spot?"  ;0)

I'm generous to a fault sometimesalso , but usually more with people I know.  I can't count how many friends in dire straights I've helped (with fairly decent amts of money)...KNOWING I'd never see a dime.  What bothers me in some of those situations is..there was never even a futile attempt, even to give me ten bucks back, or take me for a coffee.  I don't mind helping, but when I don't feel appreciated, kiss my behind.  The best is, they start to avoid you thinking it's become uncomfy.  Pffft.  I've actually lost a few friends over that.  Never spoke a word about the money owed, they just dropped out of sight, due to embarassment, whatever.  When I decide I want to help someone now, it's because I just want to help.  I never have expectations anymore.  I don't even need a thank you...just knowing I may have made someone's day a little easier is thanks enough....but gone are the days where people are going to take advantage of me.  I do LOVE to help someone in need though.  

Good example is stalker mom.  SM knows this situation, and a few of you on the Relationships forum know of her.  My son's friend's Mom.  She's a user.  The last time her son came to play at our house, she came right out and asked for 40 bucks for cigs.  This is right after she told me she blew their grocery bill on scratch off lotto tickets.  Uh, huh.  Like I'm going to give her a red cent.  LOL.  I told her NO, she has never called for a play date since.  And, she used to call me like 20 times a day, no lie.  It's good...I weeded out a real creep.  

I wanted to add something else...since this is an appropriate (related) topic.  People (women especially) have to be VERY careful.  Robbery schemes are now often set up using a woman or woman/child in distress as bait.  Women especially feel compelled to help, feeling badly for the woman and child...only to get led into a trap.  SO, we must all be UBER careful out there.  If a woman tells you she broke down, call the police for her.  Don't even get lured away...and be careful of people approaching you at night, and when no one else is around.  Can't be too careful these days.  

Like Londres said, there is no right or wrong here.  It's whatever feels right to that person.  I wouldn't judge SM for giving money to a scammer, nor would I judge someone who told them to buzz off.  This is a great place to mention that "giving" is a great thing.  It really makes me feel good that I can help people in need, animals, whatever the case may be. It doesn't have to be a lot.

Great topic, SM.  I'm also glad to call you my friend.  :0)  XOXO

2083449 tn?1381358308
by Sonrissa, Sep 20, 2012
Great reply Nursegirl!! I am the same way as you! I too have lost friends because I gave them money and they dump me cause they can't or don't pay it back! I never ask for them to pay it back at all! I feel sad when I lose them cause I cared so much I just wanted to help! It was never about money, I just miss their friendship!

134578 tn?1483549754
by AnnieBrooke, Sep 21, 2012
I guess I usually think they are worse off than I am if they are begging in the street, whether it is a scam or not.  Who would want to do that?  What is the worldview of someone who doesn't have a self-consciousness that would stop them from begging (if they are not in fact desperate)?  It doesn't make me give money, though I have often given food, but it does keep me from being mad at them.  I wouldn't want their life.

If someone has a small child with them, however, I might talk to Security or even try to call child protective services.  In our town a drug-using mother put her three small kids into a storage shed and disappeared for a day or two.  Can't remember, now, whether the oldest child was even more than 6, and the youngest was in diapers.  Inexcusable.

495284 tn?1333897642
by dominosarah, Sep 21, 2012
Well i might as well add to this and be the cold hearted one.  Anyone who uses a child like this needs to be reported.  I wouldnt give that woman squat.

There was a very interesting article in one of the big papers here in Minnesota about this.  They found alot of these people were very wealthy and this is what they did.  I also know some of these people will do this to feed their drug habit, something you all know i was actively involved in.  I can spot them a mile away.  I did however help a dog once.  There is a man who sits out by our local Walmart once a month.  He brings his dog and holds a sign saying" hungry"...My daughter and i were going by and the sun was shining and it was hot.  I told her to turn around as we had a jug of water in the car.  We turned around and i got out and gave the man the water for the dog and said make sure she is taken care of and given some shelter from the blazing sun.  He said yes maam, she is well taken care of and he thanked me.   She wagged her tail and we drove off.

I am sure i am going to he!! but that is how i roll on this one~~

973741 tn?1342346373
by specialmom, Sep 21, 2012
I think it is always a judgement call in those situations and absolutely no right or wrong. My decision to give the girl money was one I don't regret though.  Her tears were real when I caught up with her.  I just think about what all i 'don't know'.  My mom told me once that angels walk the earth.  You never know who they are and you never know what they'll ask of you.  Be open to giving and not always understanding.  

Everyone has their 'thing'.  I have a neighbor that refuses to by anything from kids in the neighborhood who knock on their door.  That's just their policy----  they don't want to tell one kid no because they bought from another or don't like what their cub scout troup os peddling (speaking of which . . . anyone want to buy some popcorn?  ha ha).  Okay, I buy all that too.  But I get where my neighbor is coming from.

I get where everyone is coming from too on the subject of someone begging in a parking lot.  Anyway, I hope that girl is alright--  the little bit of money I gave her wouldn't go far.  

I so appreciate everyone's thoughts on the subject!  

406584 tn?1399591666
by 10356, Sep 21, 2012
hi Specialmom.. I have thought about this for a couple of days.. it would depend on the circumstances i think if i gave money our not. i have given money for gas and bought dog food for a young man trying to get home/ gary said no but i countered with what if that was our son would you want someone to help them.. so we did. if i saw a girl working the parking lot and approached me more then once i would be inclined to tell her she already hit me up.. i know young girls can be forced out by their bf. yes their self esteem is so low they do this for them so they can give them money.. just to feel love. it is all very sad so i would have to say it would depend on how empathetic i felt that day.. there really is no right our wrong when helping our not I think we all do when our hearts have been touched.... lesa

Avatar universal
by TTinKKerBBell, Sep 21, 2012
Been there, done that!! - I have given hand-outs plenty!!  myself - in the past!! - but today, I am here to say that, FIRST HAND!!, I know what MANY of these People are doing!!  I've spent a lot of time on the Streets myself, on behalf of my Own Beloved GrandDaughter and my Son (Her Father) and my Daughter-in-law (Her Mother)  I know!! and I understand!! that many People are "homeless" today, and out of work for "legitimate" reasons -  BUT - these are NOT the People We see on the Street!!.  Most often, Street People are looking to supply Their addictions.  I truely know of what I speak, as my Own Son and His Wife were Drug Addicts and  Alcoholics - They were "Street People".  My Husband and I took custody of Our GrandDaughter (Their Child - Who They "claimed" to Love with all Their Hearts!!) and We would take Her (the GrandDaughter) to the Streets in order that She see Her Mother and Father.  I cannot even verbalize to all of You how HeartBreaking!! it was for us to do this!!  These "Street People" were a Community!!  EveryOne of them knew One Another!!  We would approach Them, asking for Our GrandDaughter's Parents and this "community" ALWAYS pointed us in the right direction to find Her Mommy and Daddy.  Our Sweet GrandDaughter's Mommy was living in a tent under HighWay 4 - Her Daddy was living in His truck on a friend's gravel driveway!!  These People, ALL of Them, would stand on street corners, with signs, "will work for food" - People driving by give Them Money, which they collect, and add up until they have enough money to buy a bottle of alcohol or drugs!!  I saw this, time and time again!!  So!!  I would say to You, it is commendable to buy them a sandwich, but, DO NOT GIVE THEM  MONEY!!  You are NOT contributing to Their Welfare - You are contibuting to Their ADDICTION - and You should not feel You've done something "good" when You give money.  Feel "good" when You give Them something to eat!!  We raised our GrandDaughter for 10 years - gave Her counseling once a week for the ENTIRE time She was with us, and still today (this Girl is now 20 Years old)  She's a GOOD Girl - She has Hopes and Dreams and Goals - She loves GrandMommy and GrandDaddy with all Her Heart BUT She STILL has HOLES in Her Heart where Mommy and Daddy were supposed to be!!  My feeling - don't give these People money - but instead find a way to help/rescue the Children.  My Son is now dead (almost 5 years!!now (and my Heart still aches!!)  of a Drug OverDose and our Baby Girl's Mother is now more than 50 years old.  It does appear that now She is drug free but She has "burned" HerSelf out and does not have much left to offer Her Daughter.
Just my 2 cents!!  - but - please, realize I'm DEEPLY invested!! and I don't have much "understanding" for "hand outs"

Avatar universal
by Londres70, Sep 21, 2012
Absolutely Tink.....I agree.

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by RockRose, Sep 21, 2012
I tend to never give to beggars,  but last year when my mother was dying,  I saw a man on a street corner - clean and dressed fairly nicely - holding a sign that said he needed gas money to drive to some distant state to visit his dying father.  I looked at that,  and thought for awhile, and drove off, only to turn around and come back and give him $50.  I don't know to this day if it was for real,  but I would rather have been taken by a scam than drive past someone who was suffering as I was over the impending death of their parent.   Sometimes,  SM,  I think we're compelled to give sometimes,  and when you feel compelled,  it's better to give than to regret.  Maybe it was a scam,  I don't know.

Last week I went shopping for clothes - and my idea of a fun shopping day (this is weird) is to hit used clothing stores.  Not upscale resale,  but truly the bottom of the pile,  lower than Goodwill stores.  You can find the best stuff,  it's great fun,  you can fill your back seat up with new clothes for $100.  So anyway,  when I do this I don't shower that morning,  and I wear old clothes because I don't want to be noticeable or memorable.  Look like everyone else in there.  (I know,  a snobby thing to say,  sorry it's true!!).  So I was coming out of one of those bottom dollar stores with a few things,  walking to my car,  when some beggar came up and asked if I had spare change and I looked at him and said "I'm so sorry,  I have nothing extra to give you".  A total lie.  But look at me.  I looked like I had no spare change myself.  haha  His face just softened,  he looked at me in the kindest way,  and said he would pray for blessings for me.  I just about cried.  He thought we were in the same spot,   and he was so caring.  

Third story,  my son had to distribute 2 "bags of grace" to beggars on the street corner.  It was a church mission project and he had to give away two bags - filled with a water bottle,  granola bars,  new socks,  deodorant,  breath mints,  and Bible verses.  So we set out that fateful afternoon and drove around looking for beggars,  which are extremely plentiful in Austin.  So we couldn't find any!!  My son said it's amazing how hard it is to find a bum when you're actually looking for one!  haha very sensitive.  Finally,  we did locate two beggars on different street corners,  he rolled down the window and extended the bag,  saying "Hello,  could you use this?"  BOTH we SO gracious,  and sweet,  and thankful,  it was a blessing to encounter them.  I was frankly afraid of being cursed at,  or spat on,  or having the bag thrown back at us.  He HAD to complete this mission,  had to find two beggars to accept the gift,  and it turned in to a true gift for us in return.  

I have in the past been in actual awe of the theatrical performances I've seen beggars stage to trick people out of money,  but by and large,  they're a good sort in my opinion.  

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by specialmom, Oct 24, 2012
Interesting Rockrose.  

Today, I saw this woman for the forth time.  I was picking up some milk at a convenience store and there she was.  The battery story again.  I told her that I knew her now and to just ask me for the money without any stories.  I literally only had a couple of dollars but i gave it to her.

I worry about her.

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by adgal, Oct 24, 2012
SM, there is something you might be able to do that could possibly help.  When I see someone who is consistently out there, especially with a child, I give them information.  You would be amazed at how many people in this situation have no idea where help might be available.  Go on line and google agencies that work with families living at or below the poverty line.  I know you are a gentle kind soul, so coming from someone like you it might very well be well received (some people come across as very judgemental, know what I mean?).  Arm her with these resources, even offer to call for her.  She may very well reject you, but it is also possible she will accept the information.  SOmetimes it works.

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by MrsPincince, Oct 24, 2012
SM, you never know if the story is real..You just have to assume it is...I, like you would've given the money....You just never know...

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by specialmom, Oct 24, 2012
That's how I feel Mrs.P, you just never know.  And that is a good suggestion Adgal, my friend, to have some information for her.  I see her very sporadically but can keep it in my purse.  Very good idea.  She drifts into my mind from time to time.  I was kind of glad to see her as I wondered what happened to her.  That probably sounds weird.  But I do worry about her.  

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by adgal, Oct 24, 2012
Doesn't sound weird to me one bit.  I think it's wonderful and wish more people cared and worried just a little bit about the fate of others.  It's a personal decision whether to give money or not, but some people are just downright nasty to these folks, and there is never any need or call for that.  

Avatar universal
by rivll, Oct 24, 2012
I  face situations like that rather frequently. I just tell them that I am sorry, I cannot help. I have offered referrals to shelters and the sort, but I don't like people approaching me in my car. Usually my dogs (rotties) are with me and they wait until I am clear of the car.
It is sad, but we all do the best we can. Not everyone in that situation is a con or has evil intent but just because someone is struggling and I feel bad doesn't mean I am guilty for their situation.
I was once mean to a very aggressive panhandler. He shoved a can in my face. This was after I spent my last dollar on very minimal staples. I moved away and he got in my face. I was quite rude and ready to strike out. (LOL me a somewhat frail near 60 yr. old!!)
Anyway, I am sympathetic but I think the main thing is not to let our fears/frustration turn into a situation where we ended up blaming people for being poor.
You never do that, but a lot of folks do. Then it just goes downhill from there.
You are a model of humanity dear Amanda, we should be asking you what to do.

Avatar universal
by atlanticmom, Nov 28, 2012
Special Mom, I'm with you on this one, completely. I nearly always give money, for the same reasons you so eloquently mentioned...something is very wrong in their lives, never mind the BS. I've been taken by con-artists many times, and I have to laugh at some of the well-intentioned things I did when I was younger...giving my best jewelry away to beggars on Christmas eve, inviting street beggars to my home for a meal, to no avail....But I agree with tinkerbell mom, who has been on the streets, that the first priority should be the children. There are so many resources, half-way houses (for lack of a better word, sorry if that is out of date), places where homeless, addicted moms can go for help. If you can direct her to a refuge or shelter, it would take that worry off your mind, and be so much more helpful than just giving her money.

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by specialmom, Nov 29, 2012
I haven't seen her since my last post but will mention this to her atlanticmom.  You just never know.  She looks clean and dressed alright----  not sure where she lives but she neither of these things seem neglected.  But it is sad and asking more questions and directing her might be the next step.  thanks for posting

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