It’s A Miracle, I Can Walk

imagesThere’s a middle-aged black man who sits on the corner of 79th and Madison in an old, beat-up wheelchair directly in front of the J Crew Mens store.

He sits with a cup and bible held together by string in threadbare pants, sneakers and an old army coat.

I must pass him 10 times a day.

I’ve learned to give money to people who truly open my heart, and there’s something about him that doesn’t do that…and yes…I do occasionally suffer guilt over it.

Call it instinct or Italian intuition, but his mere presence bothers me.

I love the J Crew Mens store. Sometimes I just go in to drool over the buffet of salesmen, one better looking than the other, often wondering if they have a farm someplace where they grow them like ears of sweet corn.

The manager, a guy in his 30s, makes my heart pound since there’s no lack of charm there either. Tall, leggy…a cross between Eric Clapton, Clooney and an awfully cute cocker spaniel. I find myself flirting asking things like…so are these flannel pajamas really as warm as you say?

The one problem tooling into J Crew is I have to pass the guy in the wheelchair reading psalms.

One day, as I was coming back from a job, who do I see pushing his wheelchair toward the bus stop…YES…HIM.

Wait a minute, you mean to tell me, you’re not even crippled? That fucking chair is part of your act?

Boy, did I want to smack him. All the people all day who give him money, and food and God knows what else because he pulls at their heart strings…AND HE’S NOT EVEN HANDICAPPED?

I’m sorry…it just inflames me to no end.

When I saw the manager from J Crew, I brought it up. He laughed and said,”You didn’t know that guy’s a fake? He’s as strong as an ox…I even offered him a stock job.”

This threw me too, that I was the last to know, in my own neighborhood.

The next time I saw him he had a HUGE popcorn container I imagine because holiday tips were so good. He looked at me with phony handicapped eyes and said, “Could you spare a little ya think?”

Wow…did I see red. “I looked at him right in the eye and said, “You can walk buddy…you can fucking walk.”

I actually felt bad afterwards but talked myself out of it. There are so many people who truly can’t walk, like a young girl who lives on 81st Street with Cerebral Palsy I’ve known since she was 9.

One good thing came out of it though…I will never question my intuition again.

I actually owe it an apology.

Welcome to New York folks.






About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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16 Responses to It’s A Miracle, I Can Walk

  1. The blood is boiling! We had one of this here as well…omg! He would shake…literally shaking like he had Parkinson’s, until I saw him gliding like Fred Astaire getting into his CAR. There are no words for this type if deceit.


    • Like Fred Astaire? That’s not funny, but it’s funny. It’s just so wrong across the board.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The fear of actually being plagued with a disease for faking a disease is too much for me to absorb. Where is their fear!!?


      • It’s a good question. I bet he’s out there right now cleaning up. Someone once told me they have sponsors who put them out there and take all the money and put them somewhere for the night. I don’t know if that’s the case with him…the arrogance of sitting there all day then getting up walking away is really something.

        I am an easy touch when someone has an animal. Thank God he doesn’t have a dog.


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, you should have snapped a pic of him pushing his wheelchair, blown it up, and taped it to the entrance at J Crew. And maybe put FAKE in big letters along the bottom of it!


  3. Elle Knowles says:

    They often have articles in the paper here about all the panhandlers around this town and how you shouldn’t give them a handout, blah-blah-blah. They even tried to shut the cold shelters down in the churches at one point last year, citing over crowding and fire marshal laws. The churches have managed to figure out a way to get around the rules. I know…sometimes they take the money and run, but sometimes there is a need. It’s really hard to judge who does and who doesn’t. A woman’s intuition is usually right on spot!


    • I usually give to people lacking body parts…on the Upper East Side there are so many scams because of its wealth. I tend to look at shoes. If the person is wearing expensive sneakers that’s a telltale sigh…the wheelchair though…that threw me for a loop.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never give to folks like that. I don’t trust that it’s a scam. When I was very young, there was a man who came to my Mom for a meal because he was so poor. She (who didn’t have much) would give him a plate of something and slip him a buck or two. She found out he drove a fancy-shmancy car and that was it. I give when I know it’s real.


  5. You have a better intuition about that sort of thing than me. I find that whenever I’m confronted with a beggar, I always feel bad about the encounter afterwards. If I give them money, I think they probably cheated me and weren’t really needy and if I don’t give them money, I think the opposite. People like that really do a disservice to actually handicapped people and people who are actually desperate and in need of assistance.


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