Rumor has it that the folks pandering at the entrances of Wal-Marts are actually not in dire straights like they purport to be. Supposedly they can make $15.00 an hour standing in one place holding a feel sorry for me sign. Do I feel sorry for them? No. It is a choice to succumb to begging. We have plenty of social services in place to help the needy. We have hot meals, food banks, shelters, rental assistance, job services, free medical, free counseling and rehabilitation. I'm not saying it is easy to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency—it isn't. I know this first hand.
Anyhow, just yesterday I passed by one of these panhandlers on my way out of Wal-Mart. I remember thinking: How can he stand out here all day in this heat? What a miserable state of existence. Not an easy life. He is suffering in order to survive.
But then, just a bit ago, I was out and about at lunchtime and I saw a gentleman in his thirties holding a sign near the road. But he wasn't standing still—like the other guy. He was dancing around, moving the sign back and forth—it is 104F out there. I focused in on the wording on the sign. It was an ad for the car wash behind him. He was getting paid to hold that sign. He had a legitimate job—though undeniably a miserable one. But unlike the panhandler, he was actually working for a living.
I believe in hand-ups not hand-outs. Next time you are tempted to give out spare change to those who ask for a gift without the responsibility of reciprocation, think twice. It doesn't do them or society any favors. It just feeds the victim mentality and sustains a poor work ethic.
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