LAWBI #77: Letter to a Young Panhandler

I’m sure you don’t remember me not giving you any money. I was probably one of dozens who mumbled something to the effect of “sorry, can’t help” as they passed, and those dozens probably made up just a small percentage of the total number that rebuffed you.

On your end, you’re one of maybe 10 or 11 folks who’ve hit me up on the street in just the few weeks since the weather cooled. I’ve given money to some; I haven’t to most. I have no special reason to remember you, either.

But you’ve been on my mind a bit. I’m one of those sort of naturally guilt-ridden types, anyway, but I’ve specifically been wondering about you, and my decision not to throw some change your way. You see, I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about panhandling — some charitable, others not so much. They’re the kind of views that will probably never be reconciled. I’ll probably always deal with the subject on a case-by-case, gut-feeling basis.

In the interest of a bit of indulgent navel-gazing, though, please allow me to try to work some things out by examining a few of the possible reasons why I might’ve shut you down.

Read the rest at Creative Loafing

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