Sunday, March 26, 2017

Needy or Not: How Do You Know if Someone is Really in Need?

     How do we really know if someone is in need or just begging? How do we know if people are just asking for a handout or not? Years ago it was easier because most people did not beg on the streets, not most respectable people anyhow. Most who were really in need would go to charitable organizations or they would do without. In today's society it is common knowledge that some people panhandle for a living and well, they do very well at it. But how do you know which is which? I guess you don't.

     I would hate to know someone was truly in need, I could have helped them but turned away because I worried they were only panhandling/begging as it were....
     We have experienced many of the career beggars while on vacation at Disney Resort. They stand on the street corner or sit on the bench at the bus stop asking for money as you walk by. These people have a script they use and we see the same ones every year. Maybe they are hard on their luck, I don't know but I wonder how they survive this kind of life year after year. These are not the folks I wonder about though. I wonder about the ones you pass by on the street who approach asking for help.

     A couple of years ago while at Disney Resort we were headed to the parks from our room when a man with two children approached us. One child was in a stroller and one was around 6 years old. He told us that his girlfriend had kicked him out of the car and taken his phone and wallet yet he had the stroller and his kids. He wanted money so he could buy his kids a soda. He told us that he had called a friend to come pick him up but the kids were thirsty.  We were near one of our favorite eating places and told him if he went inside they would probably give his kids some water and let them wait for their ride. As we walked away we wondered why he would want soda for his thirsty kids instead of water. We also noticed that he did not go into the restaurant for water but kept asking people for money along the street.
     Another time a lady knocked on my door. She had her child with her who looked around 6 years old. She told me that she had lost her job and her daughter was hungry. She asked if I could give them some money for food. At that time I was barely able to feed my own family but hated for her daughter to go hungry. I didn't have much but I went and got a pop tart and bottle of water for her little girl. I told her that was all I had. She snubbed her nose at me and told me her daughter did not eat crap like that and walked away. I found it sad people use their kids to beg for money and wondered what she really wanted the money for.

     Recently when I stopped one morning to get gas in my car a man approached me telling me that he had been robbed and was out of gas. He said he needed just enough to get to Gallup, NM. I told him I didn't have any money. He stood near my car for a while and then walked away a bit talking to himself about how it stunk to be stranded there. As I stood there waiting for my tank to fill I thought about him and how it would feel to be stranded. How hard it is to trust people anymore and decided that I would have him pull up to the pump, put some gas in his vehicle with my card so that he would have enough to get to Gallup. Before I informed him that I was going to help him he walked over to what he said was his truck, picked up a huge dirt clod or something of the sort, started cussing and yelling throwing it at his truck. At that moment I was scared of this man, finished pumping my gas and got out of there as quick as I could.

     So, regardless of the actual need and regardless of what is needed it is hard to know who is truly in need. It is even harder to help strangers in today's world because of those who are out to scam.

     How do you know who is really in need? I guess you don't, you just use your best judgement, help them if you feel it is the right thing to do and hope those who really are in need
 get the help they need.