I do not carry cash for the reason that if I do I get hit up by everyone and anyone for money. Where we live is next to a university and mostly commuters go. Since it’s high traffic it is a Mecca for those wanting to panhandle mostly tweekers and drunks. We generally have the people on the off-ramps with signs. We have the people trolling the petrol stations for the gallon they can get off of you then the gallon they can get off the other guy and soon enough they’ll have a full tank (I saw a Dad using his 12 year old to ask for petrol). For six months we had the guy on the bike claiming to need 60 cents so he could buy a carburetor from auto zone. Finally at Stater Bros the little woman who claimed that the rent was going up in her hotel and she needed money to pay off the manager and kept patting her bag to show you her payroll stubs. I see these people regularly and I remember them.
Now, I do have some shreds of compassion left. I stop on freeways when I see accidents and I’ve given people my phone to use. I used to have bus coupons that I would give out but I don’t give out money. I have stopped carrying cash. The woman who asked me for cash to pay her hotel bill. I offered her my phone to call a shelter that way she could keep her money then go into an apartment if she was indeed a hospice nurse as she claimed a shelter would love to help her. She panicked and ran. She approached me again in the same Stater Bros. car park and before she even got to me I said, “Guess the manager didn’t kick you out?” She moved off again. I’ve had people stick their heads into my car when I’ve been in a drive-thru asking for money for bail. When I was younger I bought a sandwich for a man and he took it back inside wanting a refund.
This guy is a new one. I’ve seen him before in January when I went to drop off some shirts that needed to be dry-cleaned. I initially saw him spinning around the exit to the drive-thru at Carl’s Jr. He would spin stop cars getting breakfast orders then go out into the road to snag other passersby for money. He has what looks like nasal tubing or IV tubing but it’s not connected to anything. There is a slot for an oxygen tank to go but there is no tank and he does not have a backpack for a portable oxygenator. I guess he never got the bus fare he needed three months ago but he does have a new set of clothes. I guess the Del Taco is the new haunt.
This isn’t a post on the philosophical nature of altruism I think I should I just differ to Oscar Wilde on that one. It’s more of the fact that I have changed my behaviour and I carry no cash.
By the way I did not alter the photo, my car windows seem to made from recycled glass from a Fun-House Hall of Mirrors.