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Years ago, I saw a co-worker being approached by someone asking for money. As my co-worker was reaching for his wallet, we were interrupted by the beggar's iPhone. After he was done, the conversation then turned to how happy he was with it (I can't recall which generation, but it had come out a few days prior).
Then my coworker finished the discussion with something along the lines of, "well, if you can afford a brand new iPhone, you're better off than I am right now", and we walked away...
I've given money a handful of times _and_ followed up.
FYI - My experience is that every time it has been a scam.
Here's a few stories... story 1
I'm eating lunch in my car (as I often do) a man approaches and asks for money -- it is thursday -- and he explains he has to be in a city north of where we are by Monday for an important job interview.
I give him $3.
Cut to Monday, I'm in another parking lot on other side of city eating lunch.
Man approaches asks me for money.
I say, "Hey, you had to be in North-City by Monday for the important job interview, right?"
Man runs away.
Man approaches me in my car with my family pulling out of parking lot.
He says, " My car caught on fire and now I need money to get a cab to AnotherCity."
I ask quickly, "What color is your car? What kind of car?"
Man: "Uh, well, uh...it's orange and it's a mustang."
Me: "Ok, where is the car?"
Man: "It's right over on the other side of that gas station."
Me: Okay, I will go look at car and if it is there I will come back and give you $5.
We drive over and there is no orange mustang and no car over there.
I have many stories like this. Ask Yourself
In what case would someone need money just one time? It would be a very rare situation indeed. That is why when someone asks you for money it is probably always a lie. Unfortunately.
My wife used to say if there was a beggar around, he would find me.
I used to help a lot of folks, just because I could. I've since learned to give to specific charities instead of guys on the street. Now if someone wants money, I can offer to help them by directing to said charity.
If learned a lot of people don't really want help!
Yes and it is unfortunate. I (and many others) have learned the same thing.
Here's another story.
When I was 20 I went to a Music College right in Boston -- in the middle of the city.
One time I went into the Store 24 and there was another music student in there.
We happened to walk out at the same time and the student (who obviously had some kind of problem) pulls a sub sandwich out of his shirt and says, "I don't know why but I just stole this sandwich. I'm not even hungry."
I had no words.
Then there was a beggar to our left who said, "Change? Any money?"
The music student said, "Hey, you want this sub?" and he tossed it to the beggar.
The beggar caught it, threw it onto the sidewalk and said, "Give me money. I don't want your f#@!ing food."
This happened at my house on Christmas eve around 11pm. Got the late night knock, guessing he could see by the lights that we were up and about. Gave him some money "for gas" and wished him a happy holiday. I was too tired to validate his claims, and worried about the stuff sitting out after we went to bed.
Something very similar happened to me at the central train station. A guy with a suitcase asked me for money. He claimed to have fallen asleep in a train, missed the station he wanted to get out and slept all the way to Munich, where he was woken up by the train's conductor and fined for having no valid ticket.
Poor sob. He wanted cash, nothing else. Perhaps we can go over there and buy you a ticket? No? Why? You know what? Let's go over to the police office. They will help you when you are stranded.
Suddently he had something important to do - somewhere in the opposite direction. A few months later, same place, he comes and tells me the very same story. This time I needed only two words to send him running: "What, again?"
I have lived with several Zen masters - all of them were cats.
Once I donated 20 bucks to some charity, they put my number in some database and since then I got called for donations a couple of times every week from various charities. I had to switch phone for it to stop. Since then no donations no more.
Not a ssssingle coin. There are too many con-men and other kind of unsavory people who do this kind of activity daily (seriously, you can't walk the two central main streets in my city withouth being stopped and/or harassed at least 4 or 5 times by evident drug users, with so much as pens to sale "to help orphans" or similar bullsh*t).
* CALL APOGEE, SAY AARDWOLF
* GCS d--- s-/++ a- C++++ U+++ P- L- E-- W++ N++ o+ K- w+++ O? M-- V? PS+ PE- Y+ PGP t++ 5? X R++ tv-- b+ DI+++ D++ G e++>+++ h--- ++>+++ y+++* Weapons extension: ma- k++ F+2 X
* Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.
* I'm a puny punmaker.