Thursday, October 11, 2007

Proof that I am downtown WAY too much/What would you do?

As part of my job I am frequently called to "go downtown". This phrase is kind of slang to me, and if you're around me at all you have probably heard me use expressions like: "I have to go downtown". "I went downtown today." etc.

On an average basis at least once or twice a week I travel from my home on the northeast side of town to the county courthouse or the federal courthouse, depending on what I'm doing. On a typical trip I will drive past several of our local homeless people. Every once in a while I am approached by one. The benefit is that I now am unafraid of the less fortunate, which for some reason (which I feel foolish admitting to you now) I used to be. The fear I used to have was more than likely bred into me because I am a female (the weaker sex) and because I am not exactly the strongest female. (Okay, I'm a weakling.)

Anyway, today as I was parallel parking my car I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a man was approaching my vehicle. I parked the car and then pretended to dig around in my handbag for a while, hoping that he would move on. A quick check of my locks notified me my door was not locked. I wasn't afraid of him, but I was afraid that he might be wanting to car jack me. Not that this would bother me either, but since my car payment is substantial I would hate to continue making a payment on something I no longer owned. (Especially a substantial payment on something I no longer owned.) Trust me, I'm not bragging that my car payment is substantial, just the opposite actually. (Note to self: Never trust the words of a finance manager at a car dealership ever, ever again!)

Okay, so back to my story. Mister is still standing there, obviously waiting on me. I roll down my window and give him this "Can I help you?" look. He starts telling me his down-on-my-luck story and it strikes me that he's wanting cash. But then the oddest, strangest thing happens: I get a case of de-ja-vu.

"Wait a minute!" I think to myself. "I have definitely heard this story before." In fact, I've heard THIS story from THIS man before.

Proof that I frequent downtown way too much. I got hit up for money by the same homeless man.

So what would you do? It's clear that his story is nothing but lies. He told me six months ago he was just needing some cash for a bus ticket back "home". Six months later he's telling me that again.

I won't tell you what I did this time, but I will tell you that last time I did give him some money. But now I want to hear what you would do. Would you give this man more money? Would you call him out on his blatant lies? Would you lie yourself and tell him you have no cash on you? Leave a comment for me, I'm truly interested in your thoughts.


Lacy said...

We've had this happen before too. About three times the same woman has told us her "out of gas" story at the QuickTrip on Douglas and Washington. It's frustrating because over the a span of a summer I'd think she would have made it back to Oklahoma, or at least to a gas station further in the right direction.

Many times I honestly don't have cash, and tell the person that.
There have been times that my normal response blurts out and then I stroll on remembering that I did have cash. After that I'm left with the guilt that I didn't tell the whole truth.
It's frustrating! It's also very uncomfortable to be approached in such a forward manner, that turns me off to want to help.
On a perfect day I would give the money anyway, let God deal with their lie and move on.

Stinky Feet said...

why don't you just buy a car for him too? another payment won't kill you, plus he might move to NW illinois with the other bums.

Mom said...

I do believe that I'd have asked why he wasn't in downtown KC, as that is where he'd said he needed to get to last time, and that "Uumm, no, I have no more money for your cause."
That isn't a lie.
Then suggest that he move to another area, perhaps KC, needing a bus pass to Wichita? Love you! Mom

Jamie said...


You're thinking of a different bum. That was the one that was in front of the Starbucks, not the one that was downtown! That one did get on the bus, I watched him. :)

Mom said...

OOOOOOOOOh, sorry, still tho, we have to help ourselves, as in, the bum has to help himself, OR you could be considered an "enabler", LOL!!! Love you and yours! See you soon! Mom ;)