If you live or work on the north side of Van Buren you can’t help but notice a guy standing at the intersection of I 40 and Hwy 59 holding a cardboard sign asking for help. This used to be an occasional sighting but for the past two or three weeks it has been a regular occurrence morning and evening. I’ve tried to take a good long look at them every time I go by. I have yet to see the same guy twice but I’ve seen the same car 3 times.
I saw a big suv parked across hwy 59, the beggar ran up to the car and gave the guy inside a big wad of cash. The suv drove off to Oklahoma and he went back to the corner with his sign. Later that week I saw the same car parked by the bulk ice machine right around the corner from where the guy was holding the sign. Then to top if off, Wednesday there was a guy sitting on the corner in a wheelchair with crutches and a sign asking for money. I thought to myself, how did he get to the I 40 exit ramp in that wheelchair? Later, as I was leaving Mcdonalds, I saw him pushing the wheelchair across the gravel parking lot up hill by the ice machine, fold up the chair and get in the same suv and leave. Was he miraculously healed?
No, he wasn’t healed, he’s a fake. They are all fake and they are part of a team that are scamming people by playing on our emotions. They have a sad story on their sign and many people feel sorry for them and want to help them. Friday evening there was a young couple in their early 20′s holding a baby and a cardboard sign asking for gas money in front of the gas station. Now ask yourself this, what mom would hold her baby on the side of hwy 59 where everyone could see it in January? What husband and father would ask his wife and newborn to come stand out here by the highway with him while he panhandles? If you or I were in that predicament, our wife and baby would be in the car or in the station. But then again we are honest people who don’t make a living cheating others out of their hard earned money with a fake story to prey on their emotions.
Why does this bother me? #1 Truly needy people can’t get help because of all these phonies. #2 I hate to see honest people cheated. #3 I have a low tolerance for liars. #4 The longer they make a living scamming people, the longer it will be before they learn to make an honest living. #5 People feel good about helping the poor but all they’ve really done is buy cigarettes and a bottle for a lying con man.
In a country with “now hiring” signs in the windows of businesses and financial assistance available to anyone who can’t work, who still has to stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign? Here’s a better question, who in their right mind gives money to these crooks? Be smart with your money, don’t fund a con artist.