The Unexpected Email I Received From A Panhanlder TodayAugust 20, 2013
Today, my view of a panhandler changed when one of them emailed me. For the first time in many years I have a morning routine that includes driving the same route each morning. At one high profile corner there have been two panhandlers who are friendly and creative with their signs. One morning I whipped through the light and saw the sign out of the corner of my eye. The gentleman was asking for money for his BMW fund. I found this to be an example of the strength of the Houston economy and if I were not late for a meeting I would have made a u-turn and snapped a picture for my Facebook status update.
Each day I drove this route I looked for him again. Finally today, the stars aligned and I caught the light while he was standing there with the sign. I figured it would not be nice to take a picture from the inside of my car and not give him money. So, I broke a personal rule and quickly pulled out some dollar bills. I handed them over and asked for a picture.
For the next 30 or so seconds we had a conversation that started with “you get it don’t you”. In an instant my view of this man changed. He explained that he is a writer and is trying to get noticed. He asked me for a card because he carries on the panhandler tradition of asking strangers for something, in other words, he is a salesperson. At this point my Mother, Linda, is probably thinking she should have told me 1000 more times not to talk to strangers! Well Mom, talking to strangers has pulled me along in life and I felt an instant connection with this one. His name is Tom and he is looking for a job.
I am impressed with the email he sent me. Well written, complementary, researched (made two references to blogs I have written) and effective. His talent is obvious. I hope he finds what he is looking for but I will miss him on the corner.