Bummed out by a "will work for food " bum today

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This afternoon while getting the Sunday papers saw a fella with the sign at the shopping center. I offered him $8 an hour for three hours or so, helping me to finish cultivating the garden,a shower, a meal and a lift 10 miles to I-65 so he could keep heading to Nashville like he was planning, only fed and with money in his pocket. He explained to me that the sign was just a "niceity", no one worked on Sundays and he could do better with donations from people going out for dinner after church. You know, in about 12 years of playing the "approach the guy with the sign" game, I've only found four that actually were willing to work for a meal. Three of em I just treated to a burger and a $20 bill for their willingness, the fourth wouldn't accept the kindness without washing my truck and trailer. Two of the four, I saw after they were back on their feet (one came to work at the plant I was at and remembered me ). Those four will always keep me playing the "approach the guy with the sign" game. A realistic offer to someone with real needs, can make real results. And BS smells the same in a pasture or a shopping center.

After I got home to cook and work the seedlings, a wry smile came across my face, thinking of that scam artist. Here I am with no sign, just an acre of ground , some seeds and worm crap and I'm "working for food" and its a challenge and I like it :>)

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), March 17, 2002


I remember a 20/20 or 60 mins program. A guy made 60,000 a year, panhandling. The will work for food is just another scam. When I do approach the sign,, I ask,, are they willing to work or not. MOre often than not,,they say "no".

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), March 17, 2002.

Yes Jay,and at the very end of the day you can say thankyou and have a good feeling about what YOU have done......and you were not out deceving a fellow human.

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), March 17, 2002.

We used to have a panhandler outside one of our local court houses. He would ask everyone for a quarter. One day I saw him make a big scene and start hugging the guy that gave him the quarter. The next day he followed me and another guy into a luncheonette across the street from the court house. He asked me for a quarter. I asked him what it was for and he said a donut. They had a big display with donuts, cakes, muffins, etc. I told him I wouldn't give him the quarter but I would buy him anything he wanted from that display. I was really afraid after I made the offer that he was going to take it all and make me pay so he could sell it on the street. He looked, thought about it and ran out after a guy who was leaving asking for a quarter. Moral of the story - most of the time it doesn't even go toward food. - Sheryl

-- Sheryl in NJ (all295@aol.com), March 17, 2002.


Your right my friend. And just as I know I will enjoy "working for food for the rest of my days, I also know I'll continue to be happily "bummed out" looking to help that one person every once in awhile that only needs a hand up. At least the ones that use that as a scam are revealed quickly by the true offer.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), March 17, 2002.

Jay - I agree that you should continue to offer to help - it's up to them what they decide to do with your offer....you will never regret helping those that actually take you up on it & those that don't take you up on it? Well, it's their loss -


-- heather (h.m.metheny@att.net), March 18, 2002.

Jay, I was riding down the main street of town past a lg grocery store. The bum outside had a sign that said "need work, need food". I didn't have work for him and I refuse to give cash. I had just cut up 20 lbs. of beef and made beef jerky, but hated to "waste" it on a scammer, but more than that hated to see someone hungry. Drove home, got the jerky, went back to the grocery store and he was gone. Believing it to be a sign, I pulled in the lot to turn around and go back home. I had my then 13 yr old son with me and he saw him come out of the store with a grocery bag. My son said "Mom, I can see through the bag. He bought bread, lunchmeat, and a can of soda" We figured that was the real sign. Someone must have given him cash and we could see he really did need food. My son got out and gave him the jerky and the guy started crying and saying "God Bless you". Fast forward about 8yrs. and I'm with the same son driving down the highway. We see another guy with a sign "need shoes, need food". His shoes were in tatters and he looked really bad. We're far from home, no food to give. Son says stop anyway Mom, I'm gonna give him $5.00. He runs across the road and tries to hand the money to him. Instead the guy says "What nationality are you?" My son is blond and grey eyes. He was totally confused by this question, but answers " English, German and some Indian" The guy pulls a slip of paper out of his pocket and walks away. The paper says "only people of Eastern European descent may donate to me" My son wasn't even really sure what that meant,although he knew that somehow he had just been insulted. When I explained it to him, he wanted to go back out and hit the guy. Of course I wouldn't let him. Our town wasn't real big, it was his first experience that made him realize that just because a person looks pitiful doesn't mean he is. You just never know with these people, but it feels good when you get to help an honest one. Jill

-- Jill Faerber (lance1-86404@yahoo.com), March 21, 2002.

It's a shame that a few lazy bums will make most people overly cautious about offering help. When I am in the city and someone approaches me for money, I usually suggest they go to a local rescue mission for help. I give to this mission so they can help the down and outers. When I am in our small town I tell them to come to our food bank which I am in charge of. It is surprising, though, how many people need help and will not ask for it. If you offer it, many will still go hungrey rather than accept help. I always try not to offend them and especially not to humiliate any one. We always give generously to all comers. Once, in another town, I went to a food bank to get something for a friend who was out of work, they gave me a small box for her. Hardly enough to do anything. I try to make sure the families we help will be able to take the box home and fix a meal. We really don't get too many people who try to take advantage of us. And it feels real good to be able to help.

-- kim in CO (kimk61252@hotmail.com), March 23, 2002.

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