Monday, March 19, 2012

Do You Give Money to Strangers?

Okay, so last week I met who I will call the "Toys R Us Troubadour" ... a Bret Michaels knockoff playing guitar outside the Toys R Us with 2 little boys. Yes, you read that right. A guy. Playing guitar for money with a bucket that said "Hard Times" on it. Outside a toy store. With 2 kids.

Some of you right now might be thinking, "What a con artist! Those probably weren't even his kids! He probably is a lazy bum who borrowed his pal's kids during spring break to make some easy money. He probably didn't even tell his pal what he was doing."

Who knows? All I know is I have a big old bleeding heart and I don't think I would like myself any other way. Sure, I can be quite cynical, but that's more like about people I know and have experienced to be gamey or players or just plain nutso.

As for strangers, well, I give 'em money when they need it. Always have. Sure, I (I should say WE here since Aron is totally involved) give money to people I know, as well, like maybe a family member who has fallen on hard times. And I don't LOAN money because that has too much attached to it. If I'm going to give it, I have to just GIVE it and be done with it and kiss that money goodbye and have no expectations placed on the person I'm giving it to.

Most of the time I have to just pass a few bucks out the window on a freeway off-ramp (I don't carry a lot of cash!), but I prefer to talk with the person and get to know them as a human being, if only for a couple of minutes, you know? That's not always possible when I have wiggly toddlers and someplace to be that I'm generally late for.

This day, though, I had dropped off Joel, his girl friend who is 10 and Michael to shop for something they knew they wanted and had money for. Then I parked in front of the store and got out to give the singing dad some money and Veggie Chips and fruit snacks I have in the trunk of the mommyvan. I asked him how old his kids are (7 and 3 with 2 more back at the hotel with their mom, one special needs in a wheelchair, he said). They moved to KC from Seattle so he could start a drywall job but it hadn't started yet and then the paycheck would be a couple of weeks after that. He sang a song for the kids that was like something Mr. Stinky Feet would sing: goofy and fun.

Maybe those weren't his kids. Maybe he's a meth addict. Maybe God put him there to test my compassion. Yep, God, still intact, and I want to teach it to my kids, as well

Should we be scared of people like that? Well, I'm pretty sure I'm around people on welfare and food stamps and disability and state-funded insurance and state-funded daycare and state-funded school breakfast and lunch programs every single day of my life. I'm not scared of them.

Don't we all need a little help sometimes?


  1. I would have given to him too. At least he was trying to earn it by playing music. I usually don't have cash with me though

  2. I think I saw him in downtown op not long ago when I was driving through. I say it's best to do what you think is the right thing! If they're not who you think they are, at least your heart is in the right place! God is loving you for it (even if the guy's a fraud!)

  3. don't you wish hobos took debit cards? haha! jennifer, that is hilarious. if i find him a few weeks from now singing his sob story again i'll kick him in the nuts. just kidding! i'll probably give him a few more bucks.

  4. Well, don't fall for the guy on the plaza because he drives a big car and only uses his crutches when he gets close to the corner he pan handles on. He's probably got more $$ than any of us.

    When my girlfriend sees the pan handlers by the off ramps she'll drive through a fast food restaurant and get a happy meal. She's had them get mad at her for it. Some want the $$ for their booze.


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