by brendan on 05/6/2008

There is a main exit from downtown onto the highways in Eugene, and that stoplight always has somebody asking for money. The same people, actually, rotating in shifts. Depending on the time of day, I can always predict which panhandler will be waving a sign at me. Today the morning shift man was wearing this north face jacket and a cowboy hat. I don’t know that I suspect the man is scamming drivers, and that maybe he secretly has money. Panhandling is probably his profession at this point, and I doubt he views it as a choice. But today, his coat was definitely much nicer than mine. I would think one of his other coats (either the poncho or the dirty brown farm jacket) would be better for sympathy.

Speaking of panhandlers, the cantaloupe hand man was back. A co-worker saw him a few weeks ago, and his hand appeared to be much smaller. So I felt better about my donation, considering he might have actually used the dollar on antibiotics. Then, more recently, he was spotted again. And again, his hand/arm was puffy and bandaged. It’s like some kind of magic trick! A different co-worker watched him ride his bike into traffic and throw himself in front of an SUV. A police officer also watched the whole thing, and immediately jumped out to yell at the relatively unhurt man as he bandaged his arm and waved the very shaken up SUV driver to go on.

I’ve learned that having a homeless person jump in front of your car is a little more common around Eugene. Presumably the jumper is looking for a way to get medical care, or is simply more aggressively soliciting a donation – since you might be more likely to pony up if you thought you just ran somebody over.

So yeah, no more streetside donations from me. I’ve decided that instead I will donate to a few of the local shelters, clinics, or soup kitchens. Clearly there is a problem in this town, and I want to help somehow, but I also don’t want to be taken advantage of or have that donation abused.

There is 1 comment in this article:

  1. 05/12/2008Turner Publishing says:

    I’m going around to all the St. Louis area bloggers/freelancers to let them know about our new book by two local authors, the Historic Photos of St. Louis by Jean Gosebrink and Adele Heagney. We’d love to send you a complimentary copy for possible review consideration on your blog of this book. This title is done in a large 10×10 format and all images used are culled from several archives that represent rare or never before seen photos of St. Louis. We’re trying to get the word out to local folks, so I hope you don’t mind me dropping you a line to let you know about our books!

    You can find the authors locally at a signing at Barnes & Noble on Ladue Rd from 1-3pm .

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Rachel Joiner
    Marketing Manager

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