I was on my way to Kensington today and instead taking a bus and a train I decided to take the bus then walk. As I was waiting to cross the street a man approached me and asked if I knew the city and I said yes. He then proceeds to tell me how his backpack got stolen at a restaurant on Stephen's Ave, he had no money and no ID but Greyhound said they'd give him a half priced ticket home to Ontario. So he needed $18 and he had reported the loss to the police and they gave him a list of places but they were all drop in shelters.
Call me heartless but I think this was all bull shit. You see this happens a lot in my city. Someone approaches you swears they've lost everything asks for money and they'll pay you back and then disappear. I advised him to got to social services agency located a few blocks away and kept walking. It wasn't a shelter but perhaps someone could help him there. If I was in his shoes, I'd be calling home and getting money wired to me and there are a huge number of services in my city there to help out. I saw him as I approached he wasn't approaching everyone, he was being selective.
It didn't help that he couldn't make eye contact and his account of reporting it to the police didn't add up. I've lost ID and know the process. Also I doubt very much a half priced ticket to Ontario is $18. I pay more than that for a one way to Old which is an hour away. That's pretty generous of Greyhound, funny they won't refund your money. I did my duty and gave him a place to go. I will not give money to anyone on the street. I'll buy coffee and even lunch but I never hand over cash and I donate directly to the shelter or service agency. More often than not that money isn't going to their welfare, it's going to something that will get them into deeper trouble.
I remember one time a guy asked me for money for the bus, so I gave him a bus ticket. You should have seen his face. He didn't want the ticket, he wanted the cash.
Am I jaded, maybe.