If you have taken public transportation you may have come across panhandlers. Panhandling is an act of begging, usually in a public place. I see this happening often on the CTA. My most recent encounter happened on the Metra. This is what happened…
I often take the Metra on the weekends. And usually there is one person asking for help to get to some destination from downtown. I have noticed that these destinations they ask for help getting to are always far from downtown and are usually one of the last stops on that route.
On this Friday, this gentleman boarded the train I was on and proceeded to ask for money to get to Elgin. His story went something like… his phone died, he lost his wallet and he was trying to visit his grandmother in Elgin. He just needed money to get to his grandmother who is picking him up. His plea seems innocent enough, right? Wrong. I have seen this guy before on a couple of my other trips. He has the same exact lines also! I was not going to say anything. I will let him do his thing. This is just some of what happens when you take public transportation.
It did not end there though. This gentleman that was a passenger on the train called the panhandling gentleman out saying “Hey, you said that last week and I gave you $20!” The panhandling gentleman started to stumble over his words saying… “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I was just sitting there in shock surprised that someone called him out. Not only that… A couple of other people stated they remembered him too. Still I am sitting there in shock texting my best friend about what was going on. Eventually the panhandling gentleman got off the train. Well, I thought he got off the train. He just went to another car on the same train.
Whether you decide to give to a panhandler is up to you. I often give what I can. But the gentleman that was on the Metra from downtown Chicago to Elgin did not get anything from me or anyone that was on that car. I was onto his script, but I do hope he got to wherever he needed to go that evening. These are just some of the things that you encounter taking public transportation.
Stay tuned every Monday for a new Public Transportation story. Trust me… there is always something happening in the world of public transportation.
Written by Othello of,