Saturday, November 27, 2010

More fun with panhandlers

As promised, here is a regular blog post, if somewhat later than I planned it.

Instead of trying to catch up all at once, I think a series of shorter posts will get things going more easily. Long time readers will recall my last encounter with someone asking for money. This time was a bit less amusing, but more satisfying. Let me explain.

Working in the airline industry, which is 24/7/365, I often have to work holidays. Such was the case on this Thanksgiving. It's not all bad as we do get extra vacation days to use throughout the year in lieu of regular holidays, and they always feed us at work. Normally I would take my mother to my sister's place, but she was out of town this year. I still wanted to do something with Mom for the holiday. Since I didn't have to be at work until the afternoon, I took her to lunch at Luby's.

As we walked in, there was a man sitting in the entryway. His clothes looked a little ragged. He said, "Sir, do you have any money, so I could buy some food?" I offered to buy him dinner. He was taken aback slightly. "Oh, I can't go in there..." he replied and then kind of trailed off.

I should add that while his clothes were slightly ragged, his personal appearance was fine and it didn't look like he hadn't showered for weeks or anything...he certainly COULD have gone in to the cafeteria if he'd wanted. However, I didn't press the issue. Perhaps I could get him a plate of food to go, I offered. "Never mind," he said, with a resigned look on his face, and we walked on in.

I know a lot of people ARE down on their luck these days, but I also don't want to enable someone's addiction by giving him money for beer or wine or whatever he wanted money for, that is probably the reason he is panhandling in the first place. Actually it was his loss, as the food was pretty good. The panhandler was gone by the time we left.

I took Mom back to her place after our meal and relayed the story to one of the employees there. She liked my story. "You called his bluff! Good job! I gave money to a man one time at Kroger and I saw him an hour later drinking beer and talking on a cell phone!" Oh well. I really was serious about my offer to buy the guy dinner...but I guess I've learned my technique for next time this happens.

Hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend, whether you have to work or not. I had to work Thursday and Friday but I'm off until Tuesday now, so I'm looking forward to having a lazy stretch of days off. I've been working a lot of overtime lately so it will be nice to just relax and not worry about going anywhere.

More soon.


Anonymous said...

You did the absolute right thing, in my opinion. Someone who was truly hungry and down on his luck, would have jumped at a chance to sit down for a nice meal.

Also, I love Luby's and haven't seen one in years. I didn't know any of them were still open.

Have a good rest of the weekend Chuck!

Anonymous said...

That was *totally* the way to handle the panhandler.

I'm with Cat - Luby's is SO GOOD! I need to look around The Greater Metro, and see if the one down south is still open.

I was glad to see that your Mom is well enough to go out for lunch! :)


Suldog said...

MY WIFE generally handles folks asking for 'food' money in the same fashion as you did. She has, at times, offered them her doggie bag or half of a leftover sandwich. It's never been accepted.

Me? I'm a softer touch. I've been addicted, and I figure I'm easing someone's pain if that's what they need it for. It's still possible it could be some scam artist who makes an obscene living via panhandling, but I figure it's karma points for me and God can straighten him out later.

Chuck said...

Cat - Luby's is still pretty big in Texas, although they were bought out by another restaurant group some time ago when they were having financial issues. They're a bit pricier than they used to be but still tasty.

Thimbelle - Thanks for your nice Thanksgiving wishes!

Suldog - I have given money to panhandlers in the past but in this case, I really feel like offering to buy the guy a meal was the best strategy. I can see your point, though.

Suldog said...

Just dropped by to wish you a Merry Christmas, Chuck! And Happy New Year, while we're at it...