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Panhandling

Posted 07-15-2009 at 10:34 PM by Sylent_Asassin
Updated 07-15-2009 at 10:36 PM by Sylent_Asassin (...)

During my lunch hour, I went to a LCS to pick up Blackest Night and Tales of the GLC. After I made my purchase, a middle-aged gentleman approached me and explained his situation. He didn't look like your typical panhandler as he had on decent attire and designer sunglasses. He didn't look dirty or reek of cheap liquor and cigarette smoke. He said he was laid off from his job in Los Angeles and came to Mountain View seeking employment with his family. After an exhausing search, he said he couldn't find work anywhere. He said he was staying at the nearby Motel 6 with his two children which cost $60 a night. He continued with "anything you could offer would be most helpful."

He actually sounded like he was sincerely down on his luck. He had conviction in his voice and an intense look in his eyes, but I've read too many stories where people concoct sob stories in parking lots as a career to get over on people then drive away in a Mercedes. For all I know, this guy could have been a really good actor. As a result, I told him that I purchased my books with my credit card as I never carry cash. That was the truth. I continued with, "I wish I could help but I don't have any cash on me." I had a couple of dollars in my wallet, but was hesitant as this guy could have been a good actor looking to get over on me.

I can't help but feel for the guy IF he's telling the truth. Given the state of the economy and the current unemployment rate, he could have been on the level and in real need of assistance. I kind of feel like a heel for turning down someone that really needs help but these days, you never can tell.

What would you have done?
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