Wait…YOU want MY money?

May 25, 2010

Sitting on the subway in New York is always an interesting experience. Most often you are serenaded by a Mexican Mariachi band, or a black gospel quartet, or some poor, white college student on their violin or guitar or you are asked for money by myriad of different folks, all with their own special story.

Well, this day was no different, except for the “special” part of the story.

A ragged, tired looking man drags himself onto the train and begins his slow, languid spiel (the “…” represents a long, dramatic pause). See if you notice something is not quite right. It goes something like this.

“Hello, ladies and gentlemen… My name is John… I am a man…living with AIDS…I live…in a group home where I receive treatment…I receive housing…food…and a small stipend for spending money…however…this is not much money…if you could spare…some extra change…so I can have a little extra spending money…I’d be very grateful…God bless.”

Ya know, when he started out with the AIDS part, I felt bad for the guy (though wasn’t sure if I actually believed him). But then when he began to inform me openly that he had food, housing AND spending money and just wanted more, I wondered, “Hmm…something doesn’t sound quite right. This is a very “special” story. Where in his mind does he think this story with behoove me to give him something?” Heck, I’d like a little extra spending money, too!

Does this make me insensitive?


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