In my nearly three years living in downtown and Over-the-Rhine, there has not been one panhandler who has bothered me as much as this guy. Wednesday he sort of pushed me over the edge, so I went up to him, said “Hey!,” he looked at me and I took the photo above with my cameraphone. Watch out for him.
He’s very convincing. He’s got about three stories – by his own admission – which are all pretty good and surprisingly often yields several dollars from those he approaches. An acquaintance a few years ago gave him $10 because he felt so sorry for him.
Imagine my surprise when I saw him the next evening doing the same thing. We were duped; I could not believe how convincing he was.
My problem is that he is a con, lies about his situation relying on people’s sympathies and is breaking the law, plus hurting the other panhandlers who are actually obeying the law, like ’em, love ’em or not.
That was the situation yesterday. He was on Fountain Square and all around 5th & Vine streets, hustling from corner to corner, walking up to anyone and everyone. If anything, it’s impressive to see him work so quickly.
In the past I have seen him wearing a college ballcap and he tells this sad story about being a student at U.C. or Xavier, is on spring break, car is broke down, is new to town, needs a cab up to Clifton or out to Xavier, does not like to ride the bus for obvious reasons – it goes on and on. And because he’s clean cut, a fast talker, does not smell and probably because he is white, he gets a lot of money. Others sitting on the sidewalk, with a sign asking for help – as was the case yesterday with one person who I have sort of gotten to know, call her T – get upset and angry. And I think rightfully so.
Don’t get swindled by this guy. Tell him you know his game and don’t give him money. If you do want to give money – and I often do not, aside from buying a copy of Street Vibes, which is totally each person’s choice – give it to somebody obeying the law.