An interesting encounter

On one of my vacations in a US town, I was travelling by train. But I got stuck on a transit in a desolate area – for hours. Nothing much to see around or things to do but to watch street vendors and passengers was unbearably boring. Three hours on transit was painful.

My encounter getting to know a fellow, however, brought me badly needed entertainment.

I was looking out of the window; suddenly, a beggar appeared in my cabin.  He was wearing a button-down white shirt and jeans with multiple holes in them. He asked for a few quarters. I gave him a dollar and he went away. A few minutes later he came back wearing an ugly hat; I gave him another dollar.

Several minutes later, he appeared again. This time had a dirty black coat full of patches. I gave him another dollar. He looked a bit surprised, but thanked me and walked away.

After several minutes, I was disturbed by a tapping sound coming in my cabin. To my surprise, there was this same fellow – with a walking cane and no shoes.  I didn’t say a word and gave him a buck. As he was about to leave, he said, “May I ask you a question?”.

“Sure you may.”

“Don’t you recognise me?  I am the same fellow asking for money and you kept giving it to me, thinking I’m a different person,” he said.

“That is exactly what I was wondering about; how come you did not recognise me?  I was the same person you asked for money earlier,” I said. He was surprised.  “I thought you did not recognise me. I really needed money to buy food,” said the fellow.

“Well, I hope you have enough money to eat now. Have a good day.”

He shook his head and left. I got tired of sitting in the cabin. I went out to look around. I saw the beggar sitting underneath a tree. I walked up to him and said, “Do you recognise me, bud?” He got frightened, but said: “Yes, I do. I appreciate your help.”

I gave him $20 and said: “Buy yourself a nice meal.” I came back to the train. Soon the train picked up speed.

During the remainder of my trip, I could not stop thinking about the fellow’s act to fool me and made me smile.

A thought then just crossed my mind. Can we ever have a society where nobody has to beg?