You saw me walking through Port Authority with my iPhone in hand, I don’t know what you thought when you saw me but whatever it was you approached me and asked for money. I said no.

Normally that ends it, the panhandler says ‘God bless you anyway’, and moves on. For some reason you decided to try to talk me into giving you some money. You told me about getting money from another lady, how she made you promise not to spend it on alcohol or drugs and that you promised her that, you assured me that you weren’t going to get drugs or alcohol, that you needed the money because you had a job interview and needed to get nicer clothes and cleaned up. All of that could be true, what is also true is what I said, I had no money to give you. You chose not to believe me, in fact you directed me to the Bank America so I could get money from the ATM. I thought about the man on the subway who smiled and thanked me for the orange I gave him. I got angry and walked away.

When I saw you I didn’t assume that you were lazy, a drunkard, or a drug addict. What did you assume when you saw me? Did the fact that I have an iPhone make you think I’m rich? That because my boots are expensive, new and shiny that I have money to burn? I’m not rich, I don’t have money to burn. My iPhone is not the latest model, I bought my boots from a discount store and they were shiny because I had just got them shined. You didn’t know that, you also didn’t know I was at PANY because a friend was stranded and I just bought her food and a bus ticket home, which is why I was smiling and in a good mood. I don’t expect you to care about these facts, but you expect me to believe you when you say you need money for a job interview, all I’m asking from you is for you to believe me.

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