Friday, January 30, 2009

Tugs at your heartstrings


There was a homeless guy panhandling on the train today, but his pitch was a little different than the ones you usually hear. First, it was LONG- it lasted 3-4 subway stops (he was very INTO his story.) Second, it included an incredible tale detailing why he needed money and food. The story he told involved him being wrongfully accused of a crime and held at Rikers for 9 months. The crime was the attempted sodomy of a woman. But apparently, they found the real guy who did it (they had the same profile, but not the same DNA!) and then let Mr. Homeless go. But during his incarceration he lost the room he had been staying in plus everything he owned inside it. And now he was asking for our help.

You become accustomed to tuning these guys out, because there are better ways to help than giving money on the subway. But this one was at once heartbreaking and entertaining. He pulled no punches- talked about what an asshole the judge was, how he felt about the predicament he was in. It was hard to know if he was telling he truth, but he had no interest in being likable, which lent him some credibility.

The lady next to me gave him a dollar and a plastic bag with food in it. He asked if it was cookies, and was disappointed to learn that it was yogurt.

1 comment:

  1. I usually give money or food to the people whose stories I find particularly convincing or compelling. I also give money to talented subway musicians. I always keep change in my wallet for these occasions, even though I know it doesn't always get used "appropriately," sometimes I can't help myself. What can I say? I'm a sucker beneath the cynicism.

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