The Lady on the Train

August 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm 5 comments

I bump into her once in a while during commute hours. She’s a middle-aged lady quite on the heavy side. She usually boards the train at 12th street. As soon as the door closes, she starts her modus operandi to a captive audience.

She declares, “I have multiple sclerosis. I need to get my medication. I only have a dollar, but I need 20 dollars to cover my co-payment. Will anybody help?”

When her plea is met with silence, she raises her voice a little in a whining sort of way, “Will somebody please help me? I have multiple sclerosis. My medication runs out. Please help me.”

Suddenly, somebody gives her a dollar. Then, another chips in two dollars.

“I have 3 dollars. I need 17 dollars more. Can somebody help me please.”

Surely, her pleading doesn’t go unheeded. An elderly person adds 5 dollars to the pot.

“Thank you very much,” she says. “Now I just need 11 dollars more. Will somebody please help me? I got change.”

A few more dollars pour in.

“Will anybody please help me?” she continues. “All I need is a couple more dollars.”

This time, she’s ignored. By now, she realizes she has overextended her welcome.

Next stop arrives. She gets off with almost 20 dollars in her pocket.

She takes another train and starts her routine all over again.

Although I think she may really be handicapped, I never give her money. I don’t know why. Sometimes I can be that selfish.

Entry filed under: Blogroll, daily prompt. Tags: , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kelli  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I don’t think I’d give her any money either. And I’d be tempted to start listening to my ipod when she walks on too.

    • 2. plaridel  |  August 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm


      panhandlers always put me in a bind. i don’t find myself consistent in dealing with them. sometimes, i give. sometimes, i don’t. after all, they’re also human beings.

  • 3. Ruchi  |  October 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    There is this lady I meet everyday at the traffic signal who does the something similar, except in the time that the signal goes form Red to Green she batters the waiting traffic about how one street dwellers has passed away and she needs to gather money for his burial. This she does every day cause the philanthropic hearts of the many awaiting drivers, give her money and give it in plenty.

    Its funny when she asks me cause I work with the street kids at that signal and I know practically everybody, and we’ve had only one death so far and her funeral was taken care by the local authorities.

    The crazy world keeps going round!

    • 4. plaridel  |  October 26, 2009 at 10:09 am


      doesn’t it occur to her that maybe it’s time to change her spiel? by now, her credibility is in tatters.

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