I had this guy come up to me on three different occasions with 3 different stories when I was living in Norman, Okla. First he was an NBA player who locked his keys in his car. The second time he was "just passing through" with his wife and she left him at a gas station and took the kids. The third time he must have seen my living room light on at 2 in the morning and came and knocked on my door asking for Jim, who "used to live here." then proceeded to tell me how he was out of gas... he never recognized me.
I once let a homeless kid live with me for about 3 weeks while he got a job and a place. he went to church with me. I even drove him to Cracker Barrel for a job interview. He got the job, rented a little place and I never saw him again.
There was a guy who worked the light right by my job (in Norman, at Jiffy Lube). He told everyone that he was out of gas, at the end of the day he would drive off in his fairly new honda civic.... never saw him put a drop in it. He came in to my work once to ask me for gas money. I told my boss I was going to take my lunch break, proceeded to grab a gas can and told him I would go across the street and get him 2 gallons of gas. He said he didn't want to "trouble me for that" about 3 times... I called his bluff, but if I were him I would have taken it anyway.
I thought I had grown desensitized to beggars when I was living in Alaska. There was about a 1/1 ratio of homeless people in my neighborhood. In fact, I'm pretty sure I met more homeless people than otherwise. They were all headlong in a downward spiral of begging for money just to get a fix, whether it was weed, alcohol, or just cigarettes. I came upon a stabbing once, at the corner where they seemed to congregate (it was also a bus stop). They were always either drunk or high, or terribly put out. My roommate began using a preemptive strategy to fend off their petitions by asking THEM if they had any money.
I feel bad for people who are down on their luck. I've been there myself (please see International Roadtrip blog below). I do feel good when I help homeless people, but I don't give them money. (Okay, there was that one guy in Las Vegas, he was very persuasive. Besides, he reminded me a lot of Dave Chappelle's character "Tyrone", and I think we would all pay to meet him.) Usually I will buy them meals if they are hungry, or give them things they can use.
About 3 weeks ago I was walking home from work and decided to ride the bus (I worked long nights, so it was worth 2.50 to ride that day.) I got off at my stop and about half a block later there was a homeless man eating breakfast on the lawn of the courthouse, He smiled and waved. I approached him and gave him my transfer ticket ( I always get them, for that reason.) He said "God bless you." and it made my day.
There's a crazy guy who lives on the library steps (I dunno where he goes at night but he's there all day) and he has stopped me a couple of times and talked my ear off. He never asks for money. In fact, he claims to own the library (or whatever building he happens to be parked in front of, as my friends have spoken to him elsewhere) and he says he's a millionaire. He used to own Puma shoes but sold the company to ("what the **** was her name.....") Liz Claiborne. He invented a soda can that saved pepsi millions in production by simply aerating the aluminum with micro-bubbles to cut down on material. the guy is a pathological liar, very smart because he can talk about anything and sound like he knows it in and out.
I'm planning on making a documentary of him sometime soon. I will buy him a nice meal (red lobster or something) buy him a new suit and get him a haircut and sit him down for an interview with the camera. In fact, it's been a while since I spoke to him, maybe I'll go catch up with him today.