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Swing Shift

There I was sitting at the red light minding my own business — mostly. I did look over at the SUV in the emergency lane. It was an Escalade. Stepping out of the driver’s side was one scruffy looking dude. A stylin’ brunette came around the front of the vehicle. She had a flat brown, something, in her hands. She kissed scruffy lookin’ dude, got in the driver’s seat and closed the door.

Scruffy-Lookin’-Dude was left with the brown “something.” He walked to the top of the exit ramp and held up the “something.” Only then did I realize that he was reporting for “work.” As the light changed and I drove away I caught the word “hungry” on the sign.

I work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., yet a beggar manages to drive a car with monthly payments equavilent to my rent payments. What is wrong with this picture?

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Oh for crying out loud! And it would be easy to say only in Sin City, but that’s not true… this happens far too often many other places.

  2. Yeah, but you never know who is telling the truth…that’s what freaks me out…i’m left wondering where to reserve judgement. So i never give money…just food.

  3. they did an expose on that down here in the news, and one guy admitted he made anywhere from 300 to 1000 a day standing with a Will work for Food sign… that’s why they recommend that if you do want to help someone with one of those signs, give them food

  4. Terrace, they did one a bunch of years ago, too, showing there are professional beggars in many cities, like in NYC, where they make enough to cover big houses and supporting whole families.

    I give where I think it’s needed and try not to worry about their possible real motives.

  5. Wow, unbelievable! But I believe it. It’s unfortunate because there are people out there who really need services and are less apt to get help because I’m afraid the public’s eyes just glaze over and these people become invisible. The public can justify inaction on behalf of the poor by thinking “well, they are all scam artists.”

    My church runs a program in conjunction with a NYC homeless initiative where the teen youth group goes on a “Midnight Run” into the city with sandwiches, warm cloths and blankets. They visit the homeless where they are known to cluster, and spend time talking with the homeless as they give out the food and clothes.

    The kids always come back amazed at how much “the homeless are really like you or me.” They have mostly just had bad breaks.

    Well, sorry for such a long comment on my first visit here, Quill! I actually came by to thank you for visiting me on behalf of Dr. john’s marathon!

    PS – LOVE your Moody Blues video! “Nights” was the second 45 I ever bought!

  6. We had a driver’s meeting in Rochester one night a couple of years ago and on our way in on the bus, I saw a beggar in the street. I made some comment about thinking that was sad and the boss replied that it was more than likely that the ‘beggar’ had a $200,000 home somewhere. At the time I thought that was rather harsh, but after reading this I have to wonder.

  7. Quilly-Sister, it’s so hard to know the truth, isn’t it? I’ve also seen those programs. Thank God for the shelters and community centers – where those that need help, can find help, if they choose to. Most of the time I’m of that mind set – but sometimes I just have to give them money. Then I sometimes wonder…am I really doing it because I think they have a need? Or am I doing it to make ME feel better????

  8. Guys like this ruin it for the people who really need the help.

    I almost never give money to beggars, but whenever my company needs extra workers, I go down to the Drop-In Center and get a couple of the guys to come on up to the warehouse. The company pays them cash (which really helps a lot of those guys). Even if they aren’t really poor, they still work for the money.

    It’s a win-win.

  9. this happens in so many places…lol. You always wonder how they ever got such an expensive car!!! Maybe the won it on the Price is Right????? LoL

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