Monday, April 03, 2006

The IGM guy

Ok, so you're probably like me. When you're walking down a busy street invariably a person will come up to you and ask you for change. Probably doesn't happen too often, but you're not shocked by the, "Hey man, I need $2.00 for a bus ticket" line. Well in the last few weeks, it's like I've had a sign on my forehead that reads - "Yo peeps, I've got money!!!!" In the last two weeks Ive given away a monthly bus pass, a bus transfer pass, and about $10.00 worth of change. I think some folks tell others, "ok, there's this black dude - young guy - with a few grays in a black coat. Check him up for some change and you'll be set for the whole day." I really believe that in some alleyway that's going on right now. I know you're thinking why do I give away the loose change and such to these folks who have as much of a chance of spending the cash on a bus pass as do eskimoos in Alaska. I've got a general rule that I've employed since I gave away my last $40.00 as a college junior. So, here I am walking along Brown University's Thayer street when a guy came up and said, I need $20.00 for a train ticket. I had $40.00 to my name, repeat only $40.00 to my name, and I was pulling in about $80.00 every two weeks at my Orwig job, so $40.00 was a huge deal for me. But, my parents had always taught me to help people needing a hand - we often went out during the Christmas holiday and served homeless people traversing where others were afraid. I didn't learn that we were in 'bad' areas till I got older, but I admired the love and moxie of my parents. Anyhow, I felt bad for the guy and ended up giving him $40.00 knowing full well he might not really 'need' the $40.00 for a train ride, but I figured I'd help him out anyway so he knew there were still 'suckers'…err…people out there in the world willing to help. Well, no more than two days later do I see this guy's picture on the news as a swindler. "Not surprised" I thought but my friends were very surprised at my conclusion following the incident. Most thought I should forever cast off giving away cash to people who look like they need a bath more than a ride to whatever so-called destination point they're nebulously describing to a would-be target…err…helping hand. Yet, I remember the words of Jesus, 'Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.' I had more than a passing notion that the guy who needed nearly half of my two week's paycheck could be a swindler. Yet, what if he wasn't? And if he wasn't and I gave him a lift, he'd be forever grateful. I know there have been times when I've gotten a flat tire, run out of gas, or have been stranded somewhere, and not a single person gave me a hand. I know what it's like to need help and have people turn their backs. And with that in mind, I'm willing to be the IGM guy for the forseable future (IGM = I've Got Money). So tell your neighbors and your friends, that if you see a guy buzzing around Kennedy Plaza in the early morning that if they need change, my pockets are waiting.


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