There are a couple of ladies bothering people in parking lots and gas stations around Kitchener and Waterloo. They first buttonholed me last week, and in a moment of weakness separated me from some of the money in my wallet with a story of having run out of gas. They are well dressed, well practiced and seemingly believable (I’m not usually a soft touch). That was in the Food Basics parking lot on Highland Road in front of the Prudential Grand Valley Realty office. They said it was just a loan and I believed them (for about ten minutes and then it was too late. They were gone).
Last night, by chance, I’m filling up the SUV at the Petro Canada on the corner of Weber and Bridgeport when they magically appeared at the next pump over accosting a guy with the same story.
I listened to the exchange for half a minute, until I was overcome with anger and then I stopped pumping gas and went around to where the exchange was taking place.
I said, “I know these two ladies. They took money off me last week with the same story…blah, blah blah”. I was so mad that I followed them down the sidewalk yelling at them for being liars and bothering good people. It’s not in my nature to get this mad but I did because I’d been victimized.
It is too bad that we always have to be on guard for this sort of thing. There was a story in the news last week about a dubious charity selling chocolates and a phone fraud targeting seniors. There were fake furnace inspectors calling homeowners and home renovators providing poor workmanship for cash. The schemes and hustles are too numerous to mention. We have to be on guard, they’ll always be a new scam.
But for panhandlers, we can wipe them out very easily by not giving them money. If they are begging in the intersection, on the sidewalk or like the two grifters I met – in parking lots and gas stations, don’t give them any of your spare change. Once they discover what they’re doing no longer works, they’ll stop doing it.
Don’t feel bad. We have awesome social services in Canada and in Waterloo Region. Give to charity instead and then the money will go to the truly needy for necessary things. Society will be a better place when we don’t have street urchin bothering us with their lies and fake hard luck stories about running out of gas or losing their wallets or needing bus fare to Toronto…