A little drama
I suppose that many large cities have their share of panhandlers. In our city, the police try to chase them away, but they manage to do their work by going further away from the central city where they are not so apt to be bothered. And so, one in particular has caught our attention. He has chosen a busy street which we frequently travel. It has two lanes of traffic going each way. The main value for him of this street is that the traffic lights stay on red for quite a long period of time which gives him the ability to cover a lot of territory to earn his living. There may be as many as 20 to 24 cars stalled, waiting for the light to turn green.
When we noticed him for the first time, his hair was long and rather greasy. He wore a tattered jacket and khaki pants, and had a large khaki knapsack on his back. He carried a very big cardboard sign reading in large letters "HOMELESS". The sign must have become burdensome, or perhaps ineffective, and he got rid of it, only to replace it the next day with a smaller one with the words "HOMELESS VET" written in dark letters. Several days later, that sign also disappeared and a feigned limp took its place.
Several months passed and his hair was now shorter, cleaner, and had what appeared to be a customized tousled look. His old jacket was replaced with a warmer one that appeared to be torn on purpose. His shoes now were new, athletic, and expensive, but good shoes are needed for an occupation that requires him to be on his feet all day.
He was learning on the job. The light would change and he would be off on his mission. He would quickly start, shaking a McDonald�s coffee cup at the first driver�s window. If the driver did not respond fast enough, on he would go on, eyes forever roaming, looking for his next customer. A driver�s license reading North Dakota or some other more rural state might mean that the people in that car were perhaps more apt to be amenable to his pleas than his usual, more jaded, city dwelling targets. But what we enjoyed most was when he changed from limping on his right leg to his left leg and when the cars that had been stopped, started on their journey and were out of sight, he gave his legs a rest and just walked normally.
Finally, we thought that he had gone as far as he could to advance in his career path, he seemed to have it down to a science, when there he was, listlessly shaking his cup by the first car while talking intently on the newest model of an Iphone! He appeared to be a little worried or depressed and we wondered whether something serious had come his way.
The following days, our subject was missing, but in his place was a bent over, grizzled old man leaning on a cane. He wasn�t as skillful as our subject man, though you�d think that his condition would give him an advantage, but he didn�t have the agility to service as many cars. Then in two days, he also was gone. For the next three days, there was a large lady carrying a large sign that read "HOMELESS 6 CHILDREN NO MONEY FOR FOOD".
And then our original skillful fellow was back, and we finally figured it our, its a franchise. There is always only one person servicing this street corner at a time. Our guy may have been on vacation. The weather had been very hot and everyone deserve a little rest away from the job once in a while.
Not quite the same situation.
Our car needed servicing and the garage was several miles away. My DH decided to leave the car there, rather than wait for the repairs to be finished, and take a bus that would let him off close to home. It was November and quite cold, so he decided to stop first for a large cup of coffee at a nearby McDonalds.
As you know, buses never seem to come very often when the weather is inclement. He stepped off the curb and looked around a parked car to see if the bus was coming, holding his coffee in front of him, warming his hands. An old lady using a walker approached him. She shouted at the top of her lungs, "Get a job you bum". He turned around in time to see her slowly walk off with a pleased smile on her face. She had rid the neighborhood of a beggar and set her little corner of the world aright. BTW, he is retired, he never goes anywhere without being neatly dressed, seldom is shouted at by a senior citizen, and never carries a cardboard sign.