Friday, August 20, 2010

Fairbanks Panhandlers Take the Stage...or rather Corner

Faux Panhandler holding sign. 
Actual panhandlers frequent this
Johansen intersection.

 Inspired by an article in today's Fairbanks Daily Newsminer about Panhandlers: "Panhandling illegal on state property not city."
Sign reads: NEED Money To Raise Army To Defeat DECEPTICONS!
 What you aren't seeing are the actual panhandlers on the sidewalk behind us yelling and booing him.  On woman picked a rock and threatened to throw it at him.  She probably would have except three lanes of constant traffic separated them.

Panhandlers frequent this intersection. They also stand just off the Fred Meyer property a mile away.  They ask me for money all the time.  Most of them aren't poor.  I don't care what their signs say.  Once a man in Anchorage asked me for money to make a phone call.  I gave it to him and then followed him into the store where he bought cigarettes.  I stood behind him and asked him if his phone call went well.  He about choked.

Most of them are in it for a quick buck.  Ivan and I check for the frequency of faces that take post at these two locations.  There is are only two men who are repeat panhandlers.  These two men probably are in need of help, but we have programs like the Fairbanks Rescue Mission.  Though I have never talked with either of these two men, I did mention the Fairbanks Rescue Mission to a man who was aggressively trying to get a dollar out of me in the parking lot of another Fred Meyer.  He yelled at me, "I'm not going to the f---ing Rescue Mission. They make you pray and work!"

Guess he wasn't serious about bettering his life.

On that note: I do have respect for the one frequent panhandler who plays music at the Johansen intersection.  I've seen him play the fiddle and Ivan has seen him play one other instrument.  To me, his is working.  Yes, it is only a slight difference than the panhandler holding the sign, but at least I know this man has skills that he is willing to use.  He is not trying to make me feel guilty.  Instead the broke musician is trying to make my life, and his, better.
"True poverty does not come from God."--Yiddish Proverb

No comments: