The other day I was driving home from work, waiting to get onto the freeway, when I saw something that made me mad. I wonder whether other people would react the same way.
On this particular stretch of road, cars line up to access the freeway onramp during the evening commute. Inevitably, when cars line up like this in Los Angeles on a predictable schedule, you will see street vendors and/or beggars. On this block, I always see the same two people: a guy selling flowers (roses for $5) and another guy who just stands there and begs for money. I sometimes buy roses from the one guy; I never give anything to the other one.
Usually these two fellows are separated from each other. The flower guy tends to stand on the curb offering his flowers. Sometimes he has fruit. By contrast, the beggar walks up and down the rows of cars, trying to make eye contact with you, and forcing you to respond to his request for money.
But on this particular day, the two were standing right next to each other: the one guy with the inexpensive flowers, and the other with nothing to offer but his outstretched hand. In front of me, I saw a car pull up to the two of them, lean out the window, and give money — to the beggar.
Understand: both men are clearly poor. The only difference I could see between them (other than their differing races) is that one of them was offering goods in return for money, and the other was not.
It made me angry that someone would give money to someone who was doing absolutely nothing to earn it — right in front of the nose of the guy who was working for his meager living.
Am I the only one annoyed by this?