A Simple Negotiation

images There’s a guy in a wheelchair who panhandles in front of the Starbucks on my new corner.  He has one and a half legs, his stump featured in all weather.  After only a month, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing him.

I was once told, souls such as he are placed there by sponsors of sort, who collect their earnings at the end of the day for the exchange of room, board and quasi care.  Whether this is true or not, I can’t say.  But there he is, 9 till 5, like a regular work day right till that factory whistle blows.

It’s hard, as you can well imagine, for me to just walk by him.  He’s ornery on top of it.  Not the kinda guy who pries open your heart.

But then there is that stump.

Can’t imagine, as active as I am, not to have two full legs.  This is what got me to stop on a rainy Monday to ask, “Did you eat today?”

He gave me a sneer wiping his nose on his hoodie sleeve before saying, “Nope, I ain’t had nothin.”

“Okay…what would you like?” I said, donning my Good Semaritan hat.

“A cheese buga and fras,” he said, like I was his waitress at McDonald’s.

“Where can I get that?”

“Over there,” he says, without pointing in any specific direction.

“Hmm.  Over there seems pretty vague,” I say, not willing to travel to Chicago to feed this guy.

“How bout some soup?” eyeing Panera around the corner, knowing I had a gift card.

“Soup? I hate soup.”

“Okay then, how bout this.  How do you like your coffee?”

Without blinking an eye he says, “light, 6 sugas.”

I disappear into Starbucks coming back with a grande special with enough sugar to launch him into space, and he says, “dud a doughnut come with dat?”

Just another day folks, in the Naked City.



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 Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in food, humor, men, New York City and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to A Simple Negotiation

  1. micklively says:

    He’s a professional. You’d expect a professional to give you a detailed specification, wouldn’t you? 😉


  2. A stump in the rain, oh now there’s a heartstring magnet. Next time save your money and just bring him some milk with sugar the coffee is clearly on the side.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, I know plenty of people who work that are missing a leg or arm. During the 2010 Decennial Census I had a woman working in the office who had no hands; born that way. She used the little nubs to answer phones and she could write. Our friend’s son is paralyzed from the waist down, but worked in one of my husband’s shops until his health deteriorated. And those are just two of the many handicapped people I know that choose to work.
    Although I feel badly for the man without one leg, there is plenty he could do. Each county has a community workshop for the disabled who can’t find employment on their own. And transportation is included.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s just say, he isn’t that kinda guy. That stump could haunt you if you let it. There’s another guy without legs at all that drags himself by his arms the size of baseball bats up and down the subway cars…Colin Quinn, a local comic, in his act calls him Basketball. Panhandling is a profession here in the Big Apple. Sometimes one’s heart opens and many times, it doesn’t. Since my hearing loss, I don’t judge because I know just how hard it is operating without something most people take for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The stump would have to be bloody to even mildly affect me. It’s not an excuse for panhandling. Rude would have been a good reason to leave with a “have a nice day.” You are kind. I’m surprised that living in NYC as long as you have, you haven’t “hardened up.” The only thing that melts my heart is a furry critter.


    • It’s because of my hearing loss. I’m aware of everything. A ball and chain of sorts but one I seem to be stuck with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But you are not panhandling on the street corner with an ear horn to advertise your disability. You continue to work and are a very grateful person. I can’t imagine you being rude to someone trying to buy you breakfast.


      • This is true. I can only attribute his ornery attitude to his predicament of begging for a living brandishing his very unattractive stump. I just saw him. He’s like a live monument you pass every day. Oy

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, he could try to get a job. He has options even if he refuses to admit it.


      • Do you really think so, someone like that? He can’t walk. He doesn’t appear particularly bright. Some leech came along and took advantage of both these things. I’m just saying…

        Liked by 1 person

      • In our area there are programs that employ the handicapped. Typically they do some hand work things for businesses that machines either can’t do or the business isn’t big enough to buy the equipment. At a company I worked at, they had a group come in to stuff envelopes. It was cheaper than having a service do it. Some were in wheelchairs and some weren’t bright but were smart enough for that work. I’m not an expert on this stuff but in a place like NYC they must have rehab centers with work opportunities. I’m sure he gets public funds and programs too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • They’re are for sure…but you can’t force anyone to be noble despite the cards they were dealt. His rudeness…that offensive stump…my heart still opens.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. MJ says:

    I think you’ve got it right, Susannah, in not judging him. There are able-bodied people who’d do even the most godawful jobs swelling the ranks of the unemployed, so how can we presume that those who are missing limbs, et al, aren’t at a greater disadvantage? I think most of us know—or know of—individuals who make a living or even a fortune despite daunting physical disabilities. Most of us know or know of individuals who’ve lived to be a hundred, too. But people who succeed against the odds typically have benefited from a support network, excellent rehab, and the absence of other health or social problems. Maybe this guy has psychiatric issues, or a criminal record, or comes from an environment where dysfunction is the norm. Whatever, his situation sucks. Go ahead and buy him a cup of coffee or a donut if you feel like it, and good for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate what you wrote. I know, better than anyone, how hard it is to remain in society with an impairment. I’m one step from becoming s recluse. I know nothing about him except he’s out there with a cup governed by an exposed limb. He’s snarky to be sure, but how can you blame him. My own affliction has stymied all judgment of others. I’m no better MJ than he is as I do the best I can with my day…sigh


  6. There you go again Susannah, destroying all my allusions about going into a career as a professional panhandler. I fear now that my 2 year panhandling degree was all for not and those student loans are going to come due, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I’d be ornery too if I had to sit outside all day in the winter. I guess being a pro like that, he has no qualms about asking for more. Still, you’re so sweet to ask him at all, when most people would just ignore him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Patricia says:

    Well, like my friend says, “if you don’t ask you don’t get”. I guess he has the same attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

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