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Homeless Encounter - WWYD?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by exmediahack, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Curious what you all think. This is like a movie.

    Just going home for an hour to see my family.

    A women tracks me down as I leave work. She looks exhausted. Probably 35. Three kids and expecting a fourth.

    Said she's been in town for 6 days and has run out of money. Looking for a better life instead of the violent big city she fled and a violent husband. It's easter. Shelters can't let her in today. Said $43.12 is what she needs to stay in the budget hotel for another night.

    Watching her is like watching The Pursuit of Happiness.

    The contrast. I just dropped $700 to go to Indy tomorrow to watch my Badgers. Frivolous spending. Damn it. Now I feel guilty.

    How much would you give if you could? I have $500 in spending money in my pocket right now. If you had that amount, how much would you give?

    If she's still downtown with the kids, I will give her something. Especially to try and feed them.
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I had hardly any extra cash in D.C. in January. Walked past a homeless guy at night on way to Chinese joint, gave him what I thought was a fiver. Got to the joint and come time to pay I realize I gave the homeless guy two 20s instead of the fiver, which was in my pocket. Had to pay with plastic. Was amused. Considered going back to roll the guy for the 20s; not really but I amused myself thinking of how such a scene might play out in a movie.

    Anyway, it was just 40 bucks for me. May as well have been a million to the man.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Offer to call the hotel and pick up a night or two. Or go buy some bread and sandwich fixings.
  4. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    I gave her money - discreetly. Her oldest was 12 or so and looked like this was far too common. He was nonchalant.

    Enough for a night and some decent groceries.
  5. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Under all those circumstances, I'd probably give her $65 -- enough for the motel room and a meal for the bunch of them.

    I'd present it as an offer: I'll pay off your hotel bill at the desk and pick up some food for you and the kids.

    If she had serious problems with the offer, it would be a pretty good tipoff something wasn't right.

    I'd ask just casually to see the kids (to be reasonably sure they exist).

    I absolutely would NOT step into the hotel room with mom at any time. You never know when Wacko Hubby may reappear.

    I'd scratch up some info on any possible shelters for tomorrow.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
  6. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I often feel the same guilt and probably would have given her a twenty in that situation. But it's so easy to get scammed. I've read articles about people who live in decent apartments and can make 40 grand tax free panhandling.

    Several years ago I lived in Durham and a guy stopped me outside a bagel shop and gave me a speech about how the town was a horrible place for homeless and he was just trying to get a few more bucks for a bus ticket out of town to start over. I gave him $5.

    A couple weeks later I ran into him outside the grocery store and he starts on the same speech. I tell him he told me the same thing a few weeks ago and he started laughing and said he really just wanted some beer.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Had one once years back when a guy walked into my paper's parking lot as I was leaving late at night with a story about how he had gone to see his brother at some drug rehab place and that he had lost his wallet and had to get back home, and needed money for a ticket. I wanted to get rid of the guy, so I was going to give him $5 to make him go away.

    I opened my wallet, and all I had was a $20. I t hought I'd look like an ass if I put my wallet away and didn't give the guy anything, and I didn't want him getting pissed off. So I gave him the $20, he thanked me and left.

    A week or two passed, and my paper ran a brief about police warning people of a scam involving some men telling their victims that they needed a bus ticket home after visiting family in the drug center. I felt a little sheepish, but rationalized it that it was better that I was just out $20 instead of something worse.
  8. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I stopped when I had the same family ask me three times for gas to get to the next town. I knew it was a scam the second time, especially since I gave them enough to get to said town the first time and they were still asking.

    There was one time I think the woman was legit. I just went into the gas station and bought her a tank of gas (might have been a half tank.) She was so grateful to get that so I figured that if I was scammed at least she couldn't use it on drugs
  9. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I've had more people approach me at gas stations with stories like that than I can count. Some might be telling the truth, and a few times I've given a couple of bucks, but with most the alarm bells go off that something isn't right. Might be like the woman saying she's about to get kicked out of a specific motel room while looking at the discount hotel magazine they give out at the state welcome center. Might be the guy saying he only needs $5 for gas to get home to the town that's 150 miles away.
    I surely don't have the time to go the Starman route of escorting them to the hotel and playing chaperone for an afternoon.

    If there's ANY doubt, NEVER take out your wallet. Best case scenario, the guy is a jerk and asks why you're only giving him $5 when he sees a couple of $20 bills. Worst case scenario, he mugs you.
    Nowadays I say I'm not carrying any cash (a reasonable excuse these days), even though I almost always have about $100 on me, and then hustle away as fast as I can. If that makes me a horrible human being, so be it. Too many crooks have ruined it for the very small percentage of honest beggars.
  10. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    This is what worries me ... My good deed simply enabling continued destructive behavior.

    I've mentioned on other threads that at my church I've been team-teaching a youth Sunday School class led by our youngest/newest priest. She's pointed us toward some pretty novel things to help those you think might be in need. One thing was what she called "Manna Bags." You get some gallon-sized Ziploc bags, and in each one you put a packet of those cheesy peanut-butter crackers, a bottle of water, and a pair of new, clean socks. You keep these in your car -- they'll keep forever -- and when you're stopped at an intersection with a pan-handlers, you can give him/her one of these. I can tell you from experience that they're very, very grateful. Apparently, clean socks are at a premium among the homeless.

    This isn't a cure-all, of course. It won't help you when you're walking out of a restaurant on Halloween and you encounter the young woman with two cute kids in costume. You smile and compliment the kids, and here begins the spiel. Knowing what to do is hard.
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Told this story on another thread, but it's worth repeating.
    A couple of years ago my wife and I were in Chicago on vacation and a homeless (or strung out, or junky ... whatever, she was funky) woman comes up asking for money so she can "buy some bread, and some meat. For my kids."
    I tell her I don't have any cash -- the truth in this case, since we were just out for a walk -- and quickly cross the street. She crosses with us. It's late, around 10 p.m., and the only other people around are a few dozen waiting on line at a nightclub caddy corner to where we now are. There's a long, dark block ahead. I see a big man walking down our side of the street and quickly put two and two together. I pause, he jaywalks across the street and on the other side meets up with Skanktopus.

    Wife and I hustle up the long, dark block to Michigan Avenue, damn near at a running pace while those two are headed in the opposite direction. We get there and coming around the far corner heading toward us is Big Guy. We slow up, amble slowly behind some European tourists for a moment, and as he passes Big Guy shoots a death glare and spits on the sidewalk.
    Big Guy had a real animalistic, "I will kill you for $5" look to him. To this day I have no doubt that if I'd pulled a wallet and given money to Skanktopus there's a very real chance I might not be here right now.

    It's sad we have to keep our guard up, but better safe than sorry.
  12. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Give her the 12 cents.
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