Tuesday, March 26, 2013

John's Humanity

Weight = 177.6 lbs

Coinage = $2.43

Best Find = a lonely dime in an muddy ditch.
Panhandler Profile:

As a frequent walker, I am often approached by panhandlers, men and women.  Yesterday while enjoying a senior coffee at Mickey Ds, a man ask me for a couple of quarters to “get something.”  I always say yes.  But I don’t just hand it to them without a human connection.  As I slowly handed the change, I introduced myself and ask for his name.  “John!” he said.  I said, “John, do you work.”  I unintentionally put him on the defensive as he thought I was scolding him.  Said John with some level of exasperation, “I’m 65!”  Then backing off, perhaps aware that I still possessed more change, “And I’m disabled.”  Handing John a couple more quarters I asked what he did before he became disabled.  “Carpenter,” he said.  “Trim or framing?” I replied.  “Mostly just general construction,” said John.  By now he trusted my questions as being friendly and after I gave him my last bit of change, off he went.  But he had earned his dollar burger—the change was not forthcoming until eye contact was made and the  transaction instilled with humanity.  I sensed a return of a bit of dignity as he exited looking for his next mark.


  1. What an good post, Bobby. I'll bet you meet some people who are a lot more interesting than a lot of our friends. In the DC area it wasn't safe, especially for a woman, to look the street people in the eye, but here in Spokane I've spoken to a few folks. I met a man in front of Auntie's book store a little while back who looked like an old mountain man with the long beard and scrawny pony tail. His hands looked like he had seen some hard work over the years. And he had - he was a lumberjack, then went to Florida, up to Saskatchewan, and now he lives in the Men's Mission in Spokane. He was content. He had a hard life and now he's satisfied with a pretty comfortable retirement.

  2. Thanks Mary for the interesting response about the lumberjack, it too had a human dignity transactional aspect.