Aggressive panhandler update

More info on the extremely aggressive panhandler I wrote about in the last blog entry…

I got e-mail from a downtowner/blog reader that he and his wife were approached by the same guy, about 6 hours after I ran into him on Saturday. He explained that he couldn’t read or write, and he asked them to write a note saying that he needed money to get to Jackson because his sister just died. (not sure if it was Jackson, TN or Jackson, MS)

Hmmm… if that’s the truth, then I do feel for the guy, and understand why he’s so angry at the world for being unwilling to help him. However, from what I’ve heard he was going around the previous weekend doing the same thing. So he’s been doing this for over a week, and even the worst panhandler can collect enough for a $30 bus ticket in that amount of time. Hell, in that amount of time he could’ve walked to Jackson.

Several of my downtown friends have reported very unpleasant encounters with this guy similar to mine, where they were cussed and threatened. I don’t know about him; he’s a hard one to read. On one hand, he doesn’t strike me as the typical downtown bum/crackhead who begs for money to buy alcohol and drugs. On the other, I’m not sure I totally believe his story, and I definitely see a potential for violence in him.

If I run into him again, it might be worth it to take him to the bus station and buy him a ticket to Jackson, though, just to get him out of town. Or just to be nice, on the off-chance that his story is legit.

(Update 10:40 pm Monday night: He’s still walking around downtown, not bothering people though.)