05 January 2006

Trust and the T

A Dispatch From "Abigail Adams":

Last week on the train this woman got on and immediately started making an annoucement about how she had lost her change purse which carried the $40 she needed to catch a bus home. She apologized and said she was embarassed, that she wasn't a scumbag or a beggar and that if she didn't get the money she would have to wait for hours for a ride. The people on the train gave her money, myself included. She made friends with a woman and they got off together so the woman could make change or something to give her more money.

Today, the same woman gets on. She immediately launches into the same speech about losing her change purse, that she had on expensive clothes that she was willing to sell (but had lost her ID?), etc. A man stands up and says that he has no small bills, only $100, and if he had less he would give it to her. She starts asking him if he'll go make change, but they decide that getting a $100 bill changed was not likely. The man was extremely nice to her and started yelling at everyone else on the train to help her, and one woman offered to go to an ATM to take money out.

I'm wondering if i'm the only person that recognized her. It was a little depressing to see because you know there are people that really do need help, and she came on the train to get sympathy from everyone, which she did very well. If other people recognized her, she ruins their trust and then they're reluctant to help people in the future.



Blogger W A Hurd said...

She may or may not be a "scumbag or beggar" in the traditional sense, but she's clearly a scam artist and probably the other two as well. The conspiracy theorist in me also wonders whether or not the man with the mystical "Benjamin" was in on it. If so, that's a well-planned scam.

I think this also demonstrates that people are far more willing to help people who look like them, especially in this town. I'm planning a post on this --- Boston's segregation and racism, the latter often subconscious --- sometime in the future, but it's a rather large topic. Perhaps it's better if we just eat away at it with pieces like this for a while.

05 January, 2006 13:18  

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