I had just parked my car in a city parking lot when I heard the cries of a loud voice. "Sir, please give me a penny! Please just a penny," he pled. I continued to walk because I do not like being verbally accosted by a stranger. I was in an unfamiliar part of town and felt spooked by his sudden appearance to plead with me for a penny.
I have been asked for a dollar hundreds of time from street beggars but never a penny. I'm thinking to myself, "Wow, how low can a guy go?" On many occasions I have handed people a couple of dollars or a five. Never have I been asked for a penny. Once my family and I stopped at a light and this man was begging for money and we gave him $10. As soon as he had it in his hand he smiled saying he had enough now for a bottle of whiskey. We shook our heads and felt like fools for helping the guy.
My wife and I were once walking down Broad Street in Nashville to our favorite candy and popcorn store. We saw a woman eating a sandwich and a man pled for her to give it to him. She had appeared to haven eaten a bite or two from it. He took it right from her hands and ravished that sandwich. The guy was obviously starving.
You really never know who is truly suffering and who is a daily panhandler. A lot of America is on welfare and we have people sleeping on the streets or under bridges or on park benches. I hope the election this fall will bring change. We didn't get in this shape in one election. I don't see how one election will get us out of this shape we are in today. However, we must make a major stride in a different direction or we are going to lose this country. We cannot afford more welfare, more illegal immigrants, more jobs exported out of America and a weaker military. I personally think this election is America's defining moment in history. Supreme Court justices will be appointed the next four or eight years that will have a major impact on the future of America.
Okay, back to the penny beggar. I seldom have a penny but I did have a quarter. I gave the man a quarter. Immediately he wanted more change. He said he wanted to buy his daughter a bottle of water. "Wait a minute, sir, you said you wanted a penny." "Yes, but I need more change for a bottle of water," he pled. The man looked about 28 years old. I was beginning to think I would just hand him five or maybe even $10. I then asked him, "Why aren't you working a job? " Without missing a beat he replied, "I can't work a job because I would lose my check." "What? You would lose your check?? "Yes, if I work they will take my check away from me." I then asked him how much do you receive each month in your check and he said, "Seven hundred and some dollars." "Sir," I replied, "You, could make more money if you would just work as hard as you are begging me and others for money." He actually nodded his head and agreed with me.
I did not give him any more money. Maybe I should have but his attitude of "I will not work because I prefer to subsist on government assistance" has become too prevalent in America.
We cannot live on pennies and welfare in America. This is not a real life. It's time for a change in this country. It's time for real jobs to come back to America. It's time for us to defend our borders, build up our military and repair our infrastructure. We have to get off this status quo lifestyle of mediocrity and being comfortable in poverty. This is not the America our parents built. We can't go from a dollar mentality to a penny mentality because after this there is no lower to go.
- Glenn Mollette is an American syndicated columnist and author. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of any organization, institution or this paper or media source.