While it's better to give without expectation, it's another thing when the story changes mid-sentence. These people are the reason it's hard to give these days.

Sometimes people need help. They may walk up to you in the parking lot. They may sit out by the WalMart entrance with a sign. Panhandling is not a 'new' thing at all... but it's the people like this, that change the story, get flustered in the details, etc... They suck. It's obvious they're trying to bilk someone out of some easy money. Pouring on the waterworks and junk, trying to sell a sob-story.

I was once approached by a woman in the Sheridan WalMart parking lot, asking for gas money to get back to Wichita Falls. I agreed to fill up her tank if she'd follow me to the station, but she didn't want that... She wanted cash. After a few more minutes, realizing I wasn't turning loose of my wallet, she agreed to follow me to EZGO, where I filled up her tank and went on my way.

Four days later, I was running an errand back to WalMart, and low and behold, this same woman approaches me. Right as I was about to say 'Hello' and ask if she made it back home, she hit me up for gas money to get home again. Understandable I suppose... asking for more help from someone who has helped you before. But she had no idea who I was, so I went with it.

Her new home was Houston, and she just needed 'a few bucks'... I felt stupid. Fleeced by some small-town junkie... The more I thought about it, the more I felt mad. And to this day, it's left a bad taste in my mouth.

The feelings were driven further into my soul after living in OKC for a few years. The same people, on the same corners and parking lots... begging for money. There was even one elderly woman, known for begging on her corner near Quailsprings Mall in Edmond, busted when she casually hopped in her new car and left with a bank-bag full of cash.

These types of people ruin for everyone else that needs help. Naturally, we want to help... but we've all been burned before.

Technology has all but made it impossible now with the debit card. I don't carry cash, and probably haven't in six or seven years. There's no need for me to... until I was on the streets of Waikiki.

I was walking back to my hotel, passing the performers and artists that line Kalakaua Avenue, when I was approached by an obviously homeless dude asking for help. I remember him being somewhat old, dirty, bearded, etc... Claiming to be a vet, asking for 'anything I can spare.' I asked him about his journey, and how he ended up in Hawaii, and he started in with the tell-tale sob story. But it wasn't until he pulled out a $12 pack of cigarettes that I realized 'This is how he makes a living.' Still, I offered him my leftovers from the 5-Star restaurant we had just left. He sternly suggested he could buy his own food if I gave him some cash.

The nerve of some people.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't give. You should. It has the chance to not only make someones day, but it'll make you feel good inside... I'm just saying you shouldn't be naive.