I’m Just Begging For Directions

After I wrote this post about my encounter with a guy looking for spare change, I got thinking about something else. I have to ask…do we really have a huge problem with panhandling in Cambridge? The reason I ask is last weekend I happened to be there Christmas shopping and I was looking for my return bus stop. There weren’t a lot of people to be found so when I noticed two people coming, I asked them for help. All I managed to say was “Excuse me…” and this is what I heard:
older woman in a whisper: She’s blind, run!
teenage boy: I don’t think she’s begging.

And they ran.

Seriously, I didn’t think I looked overly desperate…but because they were afraid I might be begging, they ran.

I have so many questions. First, do we really have that many blind beggars around? Is this still a thing? Is it so much of a thing that the likelihood that I’m looking for money outweighs the possibility I’m simply asking for directions?

Second, would they run from anyone who asked them for something? Or was it just me, or other people like me?

Most times, when I ask for help, I do get it, thank goodness, and there are a lot of super helpful people around. But this incident isn’t the first I’ve experienced, although it’s the first where I’ve actually heard the words “She’s blind, run!” I just notice sometimes when I say “excuse me” to someone, they will walk faster and weave away from me, and I’m pretty sure I know what they’re thinking.

People, am I really that scary? How much help do you think I’ll need? Would it kill you to stop for a second and give me some directions?

Just remember, couple of people in Cambridge at the corner of King and Bishop St. North who ran from me last Saturday afternoon: I heard you, and your words hurt me. Do better, please.

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