New Record! Thirty Bucks!
Pictures soon. Jonathon will send stills from his video camera of both this adventure and the church panhandling trip. Don't worry. I'll be SURE to get pictures when I go out as Santa on Sunday.
We wanted to panhandle where there would be a lot of poor, unemployed type folks, to see the difference in what we made. We did not achieve this.
We went to the Unemployment office in Roseville but unfortunately it shares a parking lot with the post office and everyone's doing their holiday mailing. I don't think I saw many poor folks today. I was dressed pretty normal, except that I wasn't wearing a jacket despite the chilly weather. My sign read "Please Help. H.S. Drop Out. God Bless."
I got one dollar almost immediately from a woman who told me she was poor herself (so I swa at least one) and couldn't give me more. Next a woman rolled down the window to tell me that I should go in the unemployment office and get a job. I thanked her. I then wished I would have asked if she meant it compassionately or if she was a bit put out to have to tell me the obvious. Not becasue I bore here any ill will either way, but because I was curious.
Then the money came rolling in. More donations than usual and larger donations too, nothing under a dollar, several five dollar donations. I wasn't surprised too often. Mostly single women gave me money. Men tend not to give and women in cars with men do not give. The only exceptions to the single woman trend were two elderly ladies who gave two dollars, one young couple also passed me two bucks, a guy in a van who gave me a fiver and a mother daughter who gave me a couple of couple of bucks and about a dollar in change.
A lady handing me two dollars responded to my thanks by telling me that it was from Jesus. I told her to thank him for me. Another woman handed me a littlee leather purse with over four bucks in change and five one dollar bills, my biggest single donation to date. She didn't mention Jesus but there was a card in the leather pouch reading "I can do all things through him who STRENGTHENS ME. Philippians 4:13. This may sound lame, since I do think these are good people, but I almost like it more when I get money from people when it's just a human transaction with no religious duty or obligation. Yeah, I'm one snooty beggar.
Snootiness aside, I always feel bad when I'm not in costume and I'm eliciting undeserved sympathy from people. I couldn't believe how much money I was making, and I knew that I'd have to give it to someone who really was homeless, or at least was managing to fool me just as I had fooled these nice people.
A black woman who I would guess was in her forties came out and told me that I had to go. She wasn't in a postal uniform and I'm guessing she was the Post Master. I asked her why I couldn't stay and she told me I was on private property. So I asked whose property I was on. She answered that it was postal property. That's not privat property, that's federal property I told her as I assured I was going nowhere. She said she'd have to call the police and I welcomed this. Feeling like a bit of a freedom fighter I started singing "This land is your land. This land is my land." Nothing like some Woody Guthrie to make taking a stand fun for everyone. A cop car drove by 15 minutes later but didn't stop.
I hooked up with Jonathon and Jon and counted up the dough. They filmed it all from a good hiding place across the street. While they loaded up the camera equipment I counted up my money and was amazed when it came to $30.15. I didn't see any panhandlers to give it to on my way home so tomorrow I'll give it to my friend Brother Jay who lives next to the railroad tracks. I'll have to write more about Jay sometime. He's pretty amazing.
I can't wait to panhandle as Santa Clause on Sunday. I bet I make BANK! and I will have no guilt about keeping it. Woo hoo, er, I mean, Ho Ho Ho.
In the meanwhile, those donate buttons aint a joke. Can you spare two dollars? God bless.