The smart beggar. Is it possible to ask for anything if you know how to?

I heard in the subway: ‘I’m not a beggar; I’m just poor’. I thought it was a funny and smart thing to say. 

Some time ago I started this policy of not giving money to charity or in the streets because I thought it was counter-productive and contributed to a vicious circle, etc… 

I was walking in the street at around 11:00 pm and this friendly looking guy came towards me: ‘Talk to me; I don’t want money; I just want food’. I happened to just had bought some strawberries which I offered to him. ‘Oh, no. I’m a diabetic; that’s going to make my blood sugar rise. I can’t eat it’. ‘OK. Let’s go to the supermarket (which was right across the street) and I’ll get you something else’. ‘Look, if you give me four dollars I can go to the grocery store four blocks away and get a lot of food. I always go there. I must hurry because they’re about to close’. I was thoughtful and curious. I questioned him about why he didn’t go to the shelter; it was something I had wanted to know for a while. He said ‘Oh, no. I used to go there and I got raped’.  

Of course I gave him the four dollars.  

I ran into him again some days later. I opened my wallet and gave him 5 bucks. He saw I had a 10 dollar bill. ‘Oh, please; today has been awful; with 15 dollars I can eat four days. I promise I won’t ask for more money today’. 

I obviously gave him the 10 bucks. I walked away thinking: ‘Why did he promise me he was not going to ask for more money for the rest of the day? It does not really affect me if he gets money from other people……..’ 

The key is not what you ask for, but how you ask.

4 Responses to “The smart beggar. Is it possible to ask for anything if you know how to?”

  1. Celina Says:

    Wow! $10 is a LOT to give away! But you’re right, it’s all about the wording. Wording can change the way you feel in a matter of seconds…Not to mention how the wording is delivered.

    Perhaps next time you see him, you can ask him what he did in his previous life. Fundraising for one’s life is no easy task.

  2. amplitudvisible Says:

    He told me he used to work for the MTA but he had an accident (his leg was kind of screwed up). Apparently he was waiting for compensation from the MTA and he was going to buy a house in Harlem with the money.

    Taking into account that I had not given money in years……………..giving 10 dollars at a time was not so crazy. I’m that type of person……I should be more balanced maybe.

  3. JORGITO Says:

    A VECES ES MUY DURO VER LA POBREZA Y NO PODER ATAJARLA, A VECES SOMOS HUMANOS Y QUEREMOS SOLUCIONARLO, QUEREMOS DEJAR DE SENTIR ESA ANGUSTIA LA CUAL NOS OPRIME AL VERLO,QUEREMOS PENSAR QUE ESE POBRE SEÑOR(CON INDEPENDENCIA DE PORQUE HA LLEGADO A ESA SITUACION) DORMIRA EN UNA CAMA AL MENOS UNA NOCHE ,Y COMERÁ ALGO DECENTE ,EN OCASIONES SOMOS TAN SENSIBLES AL DOLOR AJENO QUE LO DARÍAMOS TODO. ANA EJEMPLOS COMO ESE ES LO QUE NOS DIFERENCIA AL GENERO HUMANOESO!!! GRACIAS POR SER SENSIBLE AL SUFRIMIENTO DE UNA PERSONA DEL MUNDO EN EL QUE VIVO,GRACIAS POR RECORDARNOS Y DAR TESTIMONIO DE NUESTRA PARTE MÁS SOLIDARIA…

  4. fanciber Says:

    I think it is not only a question of how to ask, but how he looks like ? May be it is not a question of beauty, but I’m sure that the first thing you pay attention when you met this guy was his appereance. And he provoked in you a possitive reaction that makes you give him money.

    It is related to that misterious attraction that you can experiment by someone that you don’t know anything about.

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