They want spare change for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
But that coffee had better be fair trade low-fat decaf from Starbucks with a low-fat almond croissant, because even panhandlers have some taste, after all:
Whenever I'm solicited for a cash donation, I always ask where my money will be invested. The answer is always food. I simply decided to cut out the middleman.
But my offer of a free lunch wasn't universally embraced. And sometimes, rejection was less than civil.
Case in point: the Yonge Street lass. She wanted none of my pre-packaged food because she wanted to eat "something hot." As luck would have it, a Mamma's Pizza franchise was steps away. Yet, my offer to buy her a deluxe slice triggered a fit of rage.
My food test was prompted by an incident near Yonge and Bloor. A young man was entombed in a sleeping bag in front of a vacant store. When I didn't drop some coins in his cup, he fired off a snide remark.
I came to an abrupt halt, pivoted, and asked him why he was harassing passersby. More sarcasm. Then, a digitized chime rang out.
"Just a second," he said as he reached for his cellular phone. Interesting ... I don't have a cellphone.
As he chatted, I saw his sleeping bag move. It turned out to be his pet German shepherd. Interesting ... I don't have a dog.
So, I wondered, how oft-put are Toronto's street people? I'm not sure. No one seemed to be actually starving.
Indeed. A certain class of these so-called starving homeless are nothing more than common bums who know how to work a system that does everything for them except helping them become self-reliant.
They're the ones who harden people's hearts towards those on the street who really need the help, and won't get it as long as these lazy vagabonds are the public face of homelessness to the average man.
These are the ones who could have been busted on vagrancy charges and run out of town in the old days, or sent to the workhouse, to make some use of them.
But this is a more enlightened age, apparently.
Source: National Post