So the cynics were right, he wasn't even homeless.

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Posted 12/5/2012 by aprilfay21 in NSBR Board
 

aprilfay21
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:07:46 PM




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StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:34:41 PM
Well I am glad that the policeman wasn't a cycnic. It was a good deed whatever the status of the man.

ETA - I totally agree with Sarah


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blondiek237
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:37:03 PM
I agree the cop did a good thing. Unfortunately this story will now make even more people leary about giving to the homeless

Sarah*H
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:37:37 PM
(not you specifically but in general) I find the obsession with proving this story to be false in some way to be absolutely bizarre.

So the NY Daily News established this man has an apartment paid for by various social welfare programs to help homeless people and military benefits. Are the payments made automatically because he doesn't have the capacity to handle his own finances? The article says he continuously turns down services and offers for help. Does he actually live in the apartment or does he choose live on the street? Did the cop know he had an apartment or did he see someone he presumed to be barefoot and homeless on the street and help him? I don't see in any way how this story proves the cynics are right.

Why can't we just let it be? Even anonymous attempts to help someone, be they successful or failed attempts, turn into these media play by plays where we're all waiting to see what happens next to these poor people who were just quietly living their lives.



busypea
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:39:38 PM
Agreeing with Sarah.

I don't understand why it matters whether or not he's truly homeless, etc.. The point of the story is that the police officer kindly, selflessly helped someone in need. THAT is what matters to me, not the man's particulars.

Aggiemom92
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:41:27 PM
I'm with Sarah.

My mom is one of those cynics. We were once driving down the road and saw a homeless man and she started in on her usual, "He's probably an alcoholic/drug addict/criminal/liar/etc." Finally I just said, "You may be right, but no matter what his story is I bet he'd rather have your life than his."

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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:43:04 PM

(not you specifically but in general) I find the obsession with proving this story to be false in some way to be absolutely bizarre.

So the NY Daily News established this man has an apartment paid for by various social welfare programs to help homeless people and military benefits. Are the payments made automatically because he doesn't have the capacity to handle his own finances? The article says he continuously turns down services and offers for help. Does he actually live in the apartment or does he choose live on the street? Did the cop know he had an apartment or did he see someone he presumed to be barefoot and homeless on the street and help him? I don't see in any way how this story proves the cynics are right.

Why can't we just let it be? Even anonymous attempts to help someone, be they successful or failed attempts, turn into these media play by plays where we're all waiting to see what happens next to these poor people who were just quietly living their lives.


Jeez, do I agree.

The world has become so cynical. We just can't let a good action be. We have to tear it down. It's sad.



thatgirlintexas
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:45:37 PM

Why can't we just let it be? Even anonymous attempts to help someone, be they successful or failed attempts, turn into these media play by plays where we're all waiting to see what happens next to these poor people who were just quietly living their lives.


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janet r
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:47:01 PM
I agree with Sarah.

Epeanymous
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:47:10 PM
Has anyone ever read either the Malcolm Gladwell article "Million Dollar Murray" or the book "Stuart: A Life Backwards"?

Homelessness is more complicated than "hey, here is a guy without a home." I used to volunteer as a coordinator for a legal clinic at a shelter in NYC. Consistent with what the literature shows, a substantial percentage of my "clients" (I was not yet a lawyer) were mentally ill. Many had substance abuse issues. Many had both. A lot of them were veterans. They made some decisions that I think if I repeated would sound inexplicable. I am thankful that I am not in their position, still.

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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:49:04 PM
Add me to what Sarah said.

I see so many homeless people who don't want the help that the state provides or offers them. It's very sad. The officer did a wonderful thing for the man. And I'm sure that there are many people who do the same type of thing every day. It's a choice to give and the expectation is never that you receive something back or have control over how they use what you give them.



Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:50:38 PM
Sarah*H - I really think the point in "proving" he isn't homeless is to try and educate people about effective ways of helping people. I am on the board and highly involved in my local foodbank - it is SO FRUSTRATING that over and over people tell us that they won't donate to an organization as they prefer to give to people directly. The stats, at least in our city, demonstrate it. Panhandling in certain areas is RAMPANT. It doesn't seem to matter how often it's shown that most of the people panhandling AREN'T homeless - and frankly are often not even POOR.

The organizations with the infrastructure to help actually people change their lives through addiction programs, education programs etc are starved for funds while people quite literally throw hundres or even thousands of dollars out the window every year.

I appreciate that people can do what they want with their money - but I do welcome efforts to educate people on the reality of whether their help is effective or not. A survey was done in Denver, the panhandlers took in 35,000-100,000 tax free a year. A huffington post did a similar story on a man who grossed $60,000


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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:50:51 PM
Amen, Sarah. I was just about to say the same thing. This obsession with tearing apart an act of generosity drives me crazy. Why do we do it? Does it give us some kind of self satisfaction? Is it because we don't want to believe anyone could truly need a pair of shoes?

And (also no offense to the OP or anyone else) but, geesh. Read the article...it's not like he was panhandling and driving off in his Lincoln Navigator to his Upper East Side penthouse. He's living in an apartment in the Bronx paid for with rent vouchers, which I imagine means it's not the prettiest, most spacious living space...and his family, who loves him, hasn't seen him in nearly a year.

Mentally stable people don't live like that. He may not have been in need of boots, specifically, but he is definitely a person in need.

And still...God bless that officer who chose to act before he investigated. Regardless of the exact details of the story, I am so glad there are still people in the world who want to give for the sake of giving.

Hey, but at least this investigation proved the rumor it was just a photo op for the police officer untrue. For now, anyway.


~Kristen~

aprilfay21
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:52:45 PM

(not you specifically but in general) I find the obsession with proving this story to be false in some way to be absolutely bizarre.
I was never cynical about the story, on any side. I think it's a wonderful thing the officer did and I was very glad to see it. I also never thought it was just a photo op, like some people thought.

I was specifically posting in response to the thread "Am I the only one that's cynical about the man without shoes in NYC?".

I didn't go searching for the story, either. I came across it while browsing the Yahoo News.




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Posted: 12/5/2012 2:04:54 PM

I really think the point in "proving" he isn't homeless is to try and educate people about effective ways of helping people.


You are an optimist. I don't believe that was the intent of the New York Daily News or most people convinced that it was a photo op or that he sold the shoes or any of the other theories floating around. It's the life is a reality show phenomenon.



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Posted: 12/5/2012 2:04:56 PM
To me homeless doesn't mean doesn't have a home. The Catholic church I grew up in had resident homeless people that lived in the church.

I was at the bus stop once and a lady was begging for money for food and a man challenged her saying she gets more money than him (in government assistance). And she went on to complain about the food they feed her at her apt complex and that rent is $800 a month. What I gathered is that the government pays her rent or gives her the money to pay the rent and that takes up most of her check. She clearly had some screws loose so I would either assume she was a drunk or had mental problems. After this man left a woman brought her a sandwich, she put it in her pocket and then kept asking other people for money for food.

the word "homeless" is not to be taken literally, they can have a permanent shelter but are still labeled homeless in the general sense because they have some mental problems that deem them unfit to work and thus end up as daily beggers. There are programs to get homeless people off the street and into apts, but they don't quit their day job of begging. I walk by two homeless men daily that sit in the same spot, no shopping cart with all their belongings next to them, I can't smell them walking by. So I gather they have a home. I assume they can't store things at the shelter? I actually googled to check and found this interesting article.

Anyway so fact that this man has a home is just a technicality to me, I still label him homeless based on his behavior. However he is smarter than I thought he sits in front of the shoe store and has somewhere to sell the shoes. Not surprised he's a vet either because he gets those benefits and many homeless people are vets.

This comment below the article pretty much sums up what I said:

Obviously homelessness is complex and there is no single story that fits all those sitting on the streets. That is why it is so difficult to solve. But an act of kindness remains an act of kindness, and acts of kindness are worth encouraging.


I also liked this comment:

he good deed's been done. No sense in trying to take the officers credit away.






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Posted: 12/5/2012 2:12:23 PM

You are an optimist. I don't believe that was the intent of the New York Daily News or most people convinced that it was a photo op or that he sold the shoes or any of the other theories floating around. It's the life is a reality show phenomenon.


You're right, I should have said: I think there's value in investigating the reality of people's circumstances to highlight whether there is a more effective way of helping people. I'm not trying to take ANYTHING away from the police officer who was moved to act. Unfortunately 90% of the time people don't really think about the less fortunate around us, and if they do it's because someone is standing there with a sign and they throw a dollar at them and think they're doing good. The picture has now gone viral and there's a 30 second window where thousands of people are perhaps educated on what's really going on - at least in THAT man's life. It isn't just a man in need of some shoes. The problems are more complex, and unfortunately aren't as easily solved with $100 boots.




purpledaisy
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Posted: 12/5/2012 3:27:54 PM

Why can't we just let it be? Even anonymous attempts to help someone, be they successful or failed attempts, turn into these media play by plays where we're all waiting to see what happens next to these poor people who were just quietly living their lives.
I so agree with this! Honestly, I don't really need to know that it was a fake. And I think the drive to prove things like this as fakes only serves to make us as a society more and more cynical. So what happens when someone is truly in need? They won't receive help because people are afraid they are fake?


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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:05:13 PM
When my oldest DS went away to college, I was worried about him living in a not very nice part of Philly. We went to visit him for his birthday about a month and a half after he was there and took the subway into Center City. As we were walking down into the terminal, a homeless man yelled over to him, "Hey, Matt, how are you today?" He walked over, chatted with him, and handed him a dollar. We continued on our way with me, being overprotective, asking how the man knew his name. He said that the man was there everyday, and he had started chatting with him everytime he used the subway and he occasionally gave him a buck or two. DH gave him a lecture about how he probably used it for alcohol. DS laughed and said, "You know what? He basically lives in a subway station. He probably deserves a beer."

I guess I would rather err on the side of compassion. If I'm wrong, then someone took advantage of me. I can live with that.

Really Red
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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:11:12 PM

I guess I would rather err on the side of compassion. If I'm wrong, then someone took advantage of me. I can live with that.
You must be very proud of your son. What a lesson he has learned from you and in college. Wow!


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lovetodigi
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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:18:48 PM

DH gave him a lecture about how he probably used it for alcohol. DS laughed and said, "You know what? He basically lives in a subway station. He probably deserves a beer."
I like your son. He sounds like a kind, compassionate person that gives from his heart without expectation.




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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:28:28 PM

And I think the drive to prove things like this as fakes only serves to make us as a society more and more cynical. So what happens when someone is truly in need? They won't receive help because people are afraid they are fake?


You're exactly right.

And people won't help because they'll think everyone is thinking they're just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame or will think they're naive or stupid.

I just hate how jaded we've all become and immunized against anything that seems too good to be true. How we all love to say: "See! See! It WAS too good to be true!"

And what makes me saddest is I'm as guilty of it as anyone.



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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:42:32 PM

Has anyone ever read either the Malcolm Gladwell article "Million Dollar Murray" or the book "Stuart: A Life Backwards"?

Or "Same Kind of Different as Me"? Fantastic book.


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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:51:52 PM
Thanks, Digi and Andrea. There are plenty of times when I think I failed as a mom, but both of my boys have pretty good hearts.

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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:16:43 PM
Homeless or not this man clearly needs help and that officer did what he thought would help. I thank God everyday that I am mentally well enough to make sound decisions, am not drug and/or alcohol dependent, can go to work and help provide for, raise and enjoy my family.

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Posted: 12/5/2012 7:26:13 PM

And I think the drive to prove things like this as fakes only serves to make us as a society more and more cynical. So what happens when someone is truly in need? They won't receive help because people are afraid they are fake?



You're exactly right.

And people won't help because they'll think everyone is thinking they're just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame or will think they're naive or stupid.



Ditto. The fact that the "homeless" man wasn't isn't the most important part of this story. The fact that not one, but 2 people (The clerk who gave the discount as well) did something good and kind for a stranger that evening.

They are the heroes, no matter who received the darn boots. They did good, no matter what else the media felt they needed to hunt down about the situation.

People are out there still being kind to others. Still doing their own little part to try to make this world a better place. Still being good. Still being true to the voice inside of them urging them to try to do something worth doing.

That is the important part of this story. So a big thumbs up to that fine officer and to the clerk who took a bite out of the cost of that particular kindess. Way to go guys!

SuffyAnn

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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:43:32 PM

I was at the bus stop once and a lady was begging for money for food and a man challenged her saying she gets more money than him (in government assistance). And she went on to complain about the food they feed her at her apt complex and that rent is $800 a month. What I gathered is that the government pays her rent or gives her the money to pay the rent and that takes up most of her check. She clearly had some screws loose so I would either assume she was a drunk or had mental problems. After this man left a woman brought her a sandwich, she put it in her pocket and then kept asking other people for money for food.

the word "homeless" is not to be taken literally, they can have a permanent shelter but are still labeled homeless in the general sense because they have some mental problems that deem them unfit to work and thus end up as daily beggers. There are programs to get homeless people off the street and into apts, but they don't quit their day job of begging. I walk by two homeless men daily that sit in the same spot, no shopping cart with all their belongings next to them, I can't smell them walking by. So I gather they have a home. I assume they can't store things at the shelter? I actually googled to check and found this interesting article.

Anyway so fact that this man has a home is just a technicality to me, I still label him homeless based on his behavior. However he is smarter than I thought he sits in front of the shoe store and has somewhere to sell the shoes. Not surprised he's a vet either because he gets those benefits and many homeless people are vets.


Oh ffs!

Listen to yourself judging the intellectual and mental capabilities of everyone you mentioned above! Yet you still can't write a complete sentence with proper punctuation and syntax. Have a little compassion. Thirty years from now you may be sitting on the same benches beside them.

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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:48:15 PM
What Sarah said...

and this:

I guess I would rather err on the side of compassion. If I'm wrong, then someone took advantage of me. I can live with that.


I'm so tired of the cynicism in our society that permeates everything. Sometimes, you just have do something nice for someone else, and let it be that.

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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:52:23 PM
My BS radar was pinging all over this story, but sometimes you just have to let it go. It makes me sad that people feel the need to tear into the story and disprove it.

Sometimes doing GOOD is what matters. That's all that mattered here.




Skybar
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Posted: 12/5/2012 10:32:47 PM

most of the people panhandling AREN'T homeless - and frankly are often not even POOR.

yes, it is often a scam. some make more than I did when I was working and live in a better house than I did. 'worked' less hrs than I did too. And didn't pay taxes on it.

but, in the end helping someone you think needs help is better than not. I just learned to stay away from those holding signs on roads, intersections etc.




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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:06:39 AM
I agree with Sarah.

Sometimes, people just need a blessing or a helping hand. Just because (general) you wouldn't give it doesn't mean I or another wouldn't. That officer was compassionate to a man in need. He was sitting on the street in NYC in the winter with no shoes. I don't care if he had a million pairs of shoes at home. There is a need there, mental or physical, because most would not be found on the streets in that condition, especially in the guise of a scam.

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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:20:12 AM
As a vet, and as someone that has been involved with programs for "so-called" homeless vets, a couple of facts.

Many of these "homeless" ones are people that attended some form of basic training, and (usually within that first year of service) later found to be unsuitable for military service.

Some is behavior and failure to meet standards, some is substance abuse, and some are medically conditions.

For most, the military was "sold" as a cure for what ailed them.

This is very different from the few that have had combat experienced that "changed" them, or grievous injuries. But that is what the majority believe when you use the term "homeless veterans."

Providing "shelter" is NOT providing a "home." and the state cannot be the method of assistance to these people.


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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:21:36 AM
Thanks Sandy, I didn't know that!




BuckeyeSandy
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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:31:13 AM
They need help sometimes, but too often "help" enables them to spiral further downward.

One program that I volunteered with, matched people from the street, with volunteers that would facilitate contacts with family, assist with getting to appointments... but the person being assisted HAD TO DO things too.

Some successes happened, but many wanted the free $$ to spend as they wanted, and would not exert the effort to progress from "on the street" to back into productive society.

The ones that did, HAD SOMEONE that they were doing it for, often a child or other family member (elderly parents mostly).


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