“Lie down man” may be a fraud, but does it matter?
It’s always a surprise to me – although it shouldn’t be – that some people are so irritated with the unfortunate.
I’ve given my share of loonies to panhandlers, but even I am weary of the relentless gauntlet of beggars working the stop lights along Lake Shore Blvd.
I try to be mindful of the good fortune I’ve had, instead feeling annoyed; I’m sitting in a nice car while he’s standing outside of it with a dirty Tim Horton’s cup, hoping someone will drop a few coins into it.
But many people see panhandling strictly as an unwanted intrusion by fraudsters who should get out of their way.
A reader (we’ll be kind and not name him) emailed to say he’s fed up with the “lie down man,” who’s often stretched out on the sidewalk on the southwest corner of Bloor and Bay Sts.
“On almost any day of the week, you can find the lie down man lying smack in the middle of (the sidewalk), covered by a blanket, hand outstretched, holding a baseball cap for donations.
“Not only is the lie down man a depressing sight, but he also impedes pedestrian traffic on one of the city’s busiest corners.
“Not surprisingly, the lie down man is also a scammer – he can walk perfectly well (I’ve seen him walking many times to his spot carrying his trademark cardboard and blanket.
“Can anything be done to remove the lie down man? While I’m sympathetic towards the homeless…the lie down man needs to find another location, or do his begging standing upright.”
I understand the reader’s irritation, but here’s the thing: We don’t know what goes on inside the lie down man’s head, or how sick or troubled he may be.
It’s hard to imagine that he approaches Bay and Bloor each day with a sense of glee over the small amount of money he’ll be given by people who feel sorry for him because he’s laying on the sidewalk.
My suggestion for those who find him irritating is to hurry past him and pay no attention.
Try to remember your own good fortune.