Call Me Selfish

July 24, 2019 at 9:23 am 42 comments

For Friday Fictioneers 100-Word Challenge: 26 July 2019

Sandra Crook
Photo Credit: Sandra Crook

She’s a middle-aged lady quite on the heavy side. As soon as the train door closes, she starts her modus operandi to a captive audience.

“I have multiple sclerosis,” she declares. “I need money for my medication. Will somebody help?”

When her plea goes unheeded, she gets desperate. She raises her voice in a sort of whining way. “My medication runs out. Please help me.”

Somebody gives her a dollar. A few more dollars pour in.

Next stop arrives. She gets off, boards another train, and starts all over again.

Call me selfish, but I don’t give her money anymore.

Entry filed under: Blogroll, Daily Post, friday fictioneers. Tags: , .

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42 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Barbara Franken  |  July 24, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I call it discernment, if we all used it all the time, we would know what is real and true AND can support a fellow human… much love to you x ❤️

    • 2. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:07 am


      it’s very generous of you. thank you. 🙂

  • 3. Iain Kelly  |  July 24, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Difficult to tell if it’s a genuine illness or not. Tough call, but constantly giving a few coins is not going to help her much, so probably the right call.

    • 4. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:07 am


      times have changed. these folks don’t want coins anymore. they prefer paper money.

  • 5. Russell Gayer  |  July 24, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Around here, we call them panhandlers. They stand on the corners of every intersection with their cardboard signs. Some even wear a protective boot on one leg to feign an injury. Nearby, you will find a nice automobile that they use to transport themselves from one begging stop to another.

    • 6. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:07 am


      it’s really unfortunate that some smooth operators take advantage of people’s generosity to scam them.

  • 7. anuragbakhshi  |  July 24, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Unfortunately, in the world that we live in, it’s impossible to survive without being a cynic.

    • 8. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:06 am


      i can relate.

  • 9. draliman  |  July 25, 2019 at 12:01 am

    I don’t know if she’s really ill or not, but you can only go so far to help.

    • 10. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:05 am


      some folks are creative enough to change their scripts from time to time.

  • 11. Sandra  |  July 25, 2019 at 2:15 am

    It’s so unfair that those who abuse the generosity of others make a bad situation even worse for those genuinely afflicted. And you never can tell, these days, who is genuine and who is not.

    • 12. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:04 am


      well said.

  • 13. rochellewisoff  |  July 25, 2019 at 4:42 am

    Dear Plaridel,

    I think after a while he doubted her sincerity. I echo Russell about panhandlers. Our city is loaded with them. They make a pretty good living. On the other hand, there are those who are genuine. It is hard to tell. At any rate, you wrote an evocative story. Nicely done.



    • 14. plaridel  |  July 25, 2019 at 9:03 am


      i agree it’s hard to tell those who are really in need that i should forgive myself if i were taken once in a while. 🙂

  • 15. Brenda's Thoughts  |  July 25, 2019 at 10:36 am

    It’s hard to know the right thing to do. In either case, she does have a problem. Maybe next time give her some food? Your story is nicely written and thought-provoking.

    • 16. plaridel  |  July 26, 2019 at 8:48 am


      i’m glad you liked it. thank you for reading.

  • 17. pennygadd51  |  July 25, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    A novel and thought provoking take on the prompt. Personally I try to give wherever possible.

    • 18. plaridel  |  July 26, 2019 at 8:47 am


      it’s very generous of you to think that way.

  • 19. bearmkwa  |  July 25, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Wise decision. Some people live this way, and it detracts from the people who really do need that little bit of a boost up. After a while, you get to where you can spot the ” professional bum” from the ones who are truly needful.

    • 20. plaridel  |  July 26, 2019 at 8:47 am


      thank you for your well-thought-out comment. it’s much appreciated.

  • 21. Liz Young  |  July 25, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    That’s not selfish, you’ve just decided to stop empowering her greed.

    • 22. plaridel  |  July 26, 2019 at 8:47 am


      i wanted to believe.

  • 23. Dale  |  July 26, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Well done, Plaridel.

    It has become so prevalent all over that we have trouble judging who is real and who is not. I think when we choose to help, we justify it in our action. Maybe we were scammed, maybe not. But if we feel we helped, and we are comfortable with our choice, then, who can judge us?

    • 24. plaridel  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:56 am


      well said.

  • 25. patriciaruthsusan  |  July 27, 2019 at 2:19 am

    Good story and well written, Plaridel. If these people are faking, which is highly possible, they’re hurting people who really need help. I give money to a church group I belong to and know really helps. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • 26. plaridel  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:56 am


      i agree. giving to a charity helping the homeless maybe the best way.

  • 27. Tannille  |  July 27, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Too many scammers. It’s hard to know. Would be better if they tried to fundraiser rather than beg. Thought provoking.

    • 28. plaridel  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:56 am


      it could be a scam, too, so we need to make sure it’s a reputable fundraiser before giving your money away.

      • 29. Tannille  |  July 28, 2019 at 11:51 pm

        Very true!

        • 30. plaridel  |  July 31, 2019 at 9:03 am


          indeed. 🙂

  • 31. msjadeli  |  July 27, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    You describe a tricky situation in your story. If we had universal healthcare those scenarios would be a moot point.

    • 32. plaridel  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:55 am


      universal healthcare could be a dream come true especially for those who need it the most.

  • 33. Margaret  |  July 28, 2019 at 1:54 am

    It’s a tricky situation. I like how you’ve built this scene, and I particularly like the tone of the last sentence. Obviously he’s wrestled with his conscience, and is trying to walk the fine line between being charitable and being ripped off. Well drawn characters.

    • 34. plaridel  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:55 am


      thank you for your generous comment. much appreciated.

  • 35. Abhijit Ray  |  July 28, 2019 at 5:03 am

    It is a tough call. Many of us face such a dilemma often. You seem to have arrived at a decision.

    • 36. plaridel  |  July 28, 2019 at 7:54 am


      it’s a case to case basis. some folks really need help.

      • 37. Abhijit Ray  |  July 28, 2019 at 8:50 am

        True. I hear there is a mafia that makes kids beg. Some deform kids to garner sympathy and increase earning. There are all kinds of people.

        • 38. plaridel  |  July 31, 2019 at 9:03 am


          i remember a movie made about it. it must be true.

  • 39. Jilly Funnell  |  July 29, 2019 at 11:10 am

    We are faced with this dilemma so often. Each time I have argument with myself about how to handle it. A thoroughly thought-provoking piece of writing. Well done.

    • 40. plaridel  |  July 31, 2019 at 9:03 am


      thank you for reading. much appreciated.

  • 41. lisarey1990  |  July 30, 2019 at 7:01 am

    This is great & very easy to relate to. I do give to anyone in need when I can but I don’t give to people who ask for something if I’m being honest. I don’t really trust them. Great write.

    • 42. plaridel  |  July 31, 2019 at 9:03 am


      handling the situation will always be on a case to case basis.


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