Is Michael Rock A Sucker?
I saw a strange sight yesterday in Fairhaven. I did a double take while leaving the Stop and Shop plaza when I saw a woman holding this sign (pictured above) with two children sitting on the grass behind her. I don't often stop to give money to people who are panhandling on the street. I prefer to give to established organizations (like the United Way of Greater New Bedford), but there was something about this woman that did not allow me to just drive by. I think there were two things that moved me. First, the fact that it was happening in a community like Fairhaven. This type of thing really should shock everyone in any town, but the reality of it is...seeing something like this in Fairhaven stands out a whole lot more than seeing it in other more impoverished areas. That, coupled with the fact that the woman had two children with her...it made it literally impossible for me to drive by her. I wasn't alone. A number of cars stopped to give her money while I was there talking to her.
I asked her where her hotel was. She answered me in broken English, "Motel 6". I couldn't think of a nearby Motel 6, so when I got home I looked it up on the Motel 6 website. The closest location listed on their site was in Seekonk. Knowing that there was no Motel 6 in Fairhaven...I asked why her travels brought her here. She said that her daughter was here in town trying to get a job at Home Depot. Clearly, there has never been a Home Depot in Fairhaven (or New Bedford). I was starting to feel duped, but if this woman was in such desperate need to stand outside of Stop and Shop with two children...handing her some money from my wallet felt like the right thing to do...even though her story didn't seem to add up.
She told me that she was transient. They don't have roots anywhere. I talked about this on the show this morning...and some people called in to give their opinions about what I saw.