I THINK I SORTA MAYBE GOT SWINDLED OUT OF A DOLLAR TODAY

  1. 4:45. I finally get out of my last class of the day. Because of my extremely poor time management skills, I haven't eaten anything in about 12 hours.
  2. The hunger pains lead me to the Zaxbys near my campus. The line at the drive thru is super long but I said fuck it- I want chicken and I don't think I can walk anymore.
  3. I'm still several cars away from the microphone box thing which is just around the corner.
    The line is moving SLOW because, honestly, this isn't a very good Zaxbys.
  4. But two cars ahead of me there's an old man leaning against the wall of the Zaxbys. He's kind of sitting on a little ledge and there's no windows or doors on this entire side of the building (probably no cameras either). He has a walker next to him.
  5. I can hear him murmuring something as he holds out his palms toward the car next to him.
  6. The driver hands him some coins. The man smiles, gives thanks and looks down, murmuring to himself until the next car pulls up next to him and the whole thing plays out again.
  7. So my first thought is, "Oh my god, this homeless guy's a genius!"
  8. If I were begging for cash on the street I would NEVER have thought to go to a place like this. A lot of people with their wallets out who have to be uncomfortably close to you and can't get away for at least a few minutes? So brilliant.
  9. Second thought is, "Um, should I give him money?"
  10. I want to be charitable but I'm also a college student making less than minimum wage and who might be making very big and expensive and important life decisions soon!!!
    Also, I'm really bad with any confrontational social interaction with strangers in any degree.
  11. But the car in front of me gives him some change too. He seems really happy and appreciative and he doesn't look that great and he won't stop murmuring so he could probably use all the money he can get.
  12. And as I was struggling to walk to my car after class, I was reminded of how horrible it is to go hungry and that some people feel like this all the time. And how I saw a haggard old man walking by the road just a couple days ago with a sign that said "hungry and need work." He feels like I've felt for about two hours all the time.
    I don't live in the city so I don't see a lot of chronically hungry people. I end up thinking about them for days.
  13. I can definitely spare a dollar.
  14. I hand it to him and he says thank you. I roll my window back up and look down until I can move my car forward. He's still murmuring.
    If you couldn't guess, I'm awkward.
  15. I see that the girl behind me, a fellow student from her parking tag, waits until there's enough room in the line to pull forward past the man. The car behind her does the same.
    And I can't fault them for that since I seriously considered it myself.
  16. But then, a woman's voice comes from the parking lot to my right. I can't see her behind a line of parked cars.
  17. In my left side view mirror, I can see the old man jump up VERY quickly, taking a few VERY quick steps toward her. He says her name and some other things that shows he recognizes her.
  18. As if an afterthought, he turns around and grabs the walker before he VERY quickly walks across the drive thru line to meet her.
  19. I've just turned the corner and can still hear them talking.
  20. Just ahead of me, an employee comes out of a door, walks across the drive thru line and stares suspiciously at the source of the voices.
  21. He doesn't look very happy but goes back inside without a word.
  22. When I leave the shopping center I don't see the old man or his walker anywhere.
  23. Moral of the story: I'm gullible.
    But it was just a dollar. Maybe he can put it to better use than I could?