Friday, December 10, 2010

Bah Humbug

I was meandering down 21st Street East the other day, heading towards the Midtown Plaza. I passed a guy begging for alms. Although I know it is frowned upon by the downtowners to give to panhandlers, I was moved by the spirit of the season and started fishing in my purse with the intent of tossing a toonie into his empty tin cup. While doing so I heard a cell phone ring. The panhandler reached into his pocket and answered the call.

I saved my coins for the Salvation Army.


  1. Haha great story Mistress. I have a rule about giving to the panhandlers: they must provide me with something in return. There is a young shaggy haired fellow who is often on a bench by the Midtown with his guitar playing cover songs (he's there in all types of weather). I happily will toss him my change as I pass by. Same with a strange fellow who has puppets that he tells jokes with. At least they are making an effort.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I passed one panhandler who ironically was slumped against a downtown store asking for change. Little did he realize (or maybe he did) that he was sitting not 5 feet from a "Help Wanted" sign in the stores window. HE of course did not get some change.

  2. Hah!

    Panhandling is a very complex social issue - sadly often with association to mental health - and too often people simply write panhandlers off as "lazy" etc.

    However, in the case of The Mistress's encounter, that story is pure gold!

  3. I relate a story told recently to me of a panhandler in Los Angles being seen for a couple of days all dirty and asking for money. On the third day he was seen climbing into his BMW with a suit and clean shaven. Must have made enough to buy a couple of gems. I don't give money I give encouragement.

  4. D.C. Homeless People Use Cellphones, Blogs and E-Mail to Stay on Top of Things
    By Petula Dvorak

    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, March 23, 2009

    To the usual trappings that help many homeless people endure life on the streets -- woolen blankets, shopping carts or cardboard box shelters -- add the humble cellphone.

    Today, it's not unusual for the homeless to whip out Nokia 6085 GoPhones (with optional Bluetooth and USB connectivity), stop at a public computer to check e-mail or urge friends to read their blogs.

    It's another sign of a society in transition by way of technology, as businesses shed physical addresses for cyberspace and homeless people can establish an online presence and chase opportunities digitally.

    "Having a phone isn't even a privilege anymore -- it's a necessity," said Rommel McBride, 50, who spent about six years on the streets before recently being placed in a city housing program. He has had a mobile phone for a year. "A cellphone is the only way you can call to keep up with your food stamps, your housing application, your job. When you're living in a shelter or sleeping on the streets, it's your last line of communication with the world."

  5. Giving money to the Salvation Army is the best way you can help the poor in the community. It's a tremendous organization.

  6. The friendship inn on 20th street guarantees anyone a hot meal. THey serve over 500 people per day. SUpport their capital funding campaign instead! They do awesome work!

  7. Just start sending that little bit of extra change to the Mayor and the so called "fiscal conservatives" on council cause you know they are going to tax you for it sooner or later.

  8. We really are judging him? Maybe someone gave him some minutes or a cell phone. How do you look for a place to live or apply for a job with "123 on the street" for an address? Cellphones can be reasonably cheap these days with also use by minutes. What phone number does a street person put on their resume or rent application? How do you reach him? I suppose he could make his calls from the payphone on 22nd street, if he can hear the person due to semi trucks! Who wakes up in the morning and says "I want to go to work as a street person-beggar" and wants to.....I think this is as low to bottom as one can get. Compassion!!!! Peace!! I would have thrown him a tooney :)

  9. That would make you part of the problem not part of any solution.

  10. Anon 11:25.
    No, considering the Christmas time of year and temperature outside. We all have encountered different people begging...It depends on the situation at the time. Again, the celphone is a judgement. Is there a bylaw already on this type of solicitation? or am I mistaken?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.