A reader’s experience with Sharp Dressed Bum

Thursday when I gave my speech about panhandling to the Center City Commission, I mentioned Sharp Dressed Bum, whose real name is Tommie, in an illustrative example. Tommie is a well-known Downtown panhandler who cusses people out, makes obscene and lewd comments, and makes threatening physical gestures when people turn him down. One of my readers saw the post and e-mailed me the following story about him:

“I’m almost ashamed to admit, but Tommie was my “tour guide” to the
Rendezvous. I gave him $10 for taking me there, and he argued with me to
give him $20. I lectured him on how grateful he should be to get even $10,
and he stomped away.

He flirted with my wife and tried to hold both of our hands. Good grief.
Anything to gain your confidence.

It was obvious Tommie was telling so many lies he forgot which ones he told.
One, he told me was going to meet his girlfriend. Then he told me he didn’t
have a girlfriend. Two, he told me he worked at Rendezvous. Then he told
me worked elsewhere. Three, he told me he was a tourist and needed money to
stay at the Holiday Inn. Wait, I thought he worked at the Rendezvous.
Never mind. You get the picture.”

By the way, next Thursday, August 30 is Tommie’s 47th birthday. How do I know this? Well, about a month ago I found him in shelbywarrants.org with an outstanding warrant, and learned his full name and date of birth. Except, I checked yesterday and the warrant is no longer in the system, which may explain why Tommie hasn’t been seen on the streets in the past week – he’s possibly enjoying a stay at Hotel 201 right now. Anyway, if he’s out by the 30th and you see him, be sure to wish him a happy birthday.