Begging occurs frequently, particularly in developing countries, where unemployment and shortage of food are problems. With the rise of homelessness and destitution in industrialized countries, it is increasingly evident there.
Begging strategies are mapped by an adult escort who also counts the money as it is made. For many, begging is an important livelihood choice for survival. It has increasingly become a socially and economically constituted process that mediates how they deal with poverty and livelihood challenges.
Beggars are everywhere. If you travel by the means of public transport or just walk on the streets you happen to observe beggars in action. Begging has always been a complicated social problem, even in civilized countries.
However, physically and morally stunted characters, different in age, ethnicity, or gender, each have a different story.
And for a desperate man begging for small change at a busy freeway off-ramp in California, his life is something beyond unexpected.
For years, Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Swalwell noticed the old man begging for money at his usual spot, one of the city’s busiest freeway off-ramps, for Swalwell, it represents a problem. As a lot of cars drove past the old man at all hours of the way. The Sheriff kept feeling concerned for the man and decided he had better take action.
“It’s a safety issue, and that was more of a concern than the panhandling,” said Swalwell. Because he didn’t want the man getting run over by a car, he decided he should write the man a ticket to scare him away from the lucrative panhandling spot.
However, the man was unable to do so when Swalwell demanded that he identify himself and produce a picture ID. He was, however, more than pleased to speak with the Deputy and share his story with him. The sheriff’s deputy realized that writing the elderly guy a ticket was the wrong course of action as soon as he heard him why he has pleaded for spare change near the highway onramp.
66 years old, Michael Myers was the kind of man Swalwell had pledged to defend and serve; he had spent his entire life in Alameda. The deputy was then informed by Myers of his accident-related disability and inability to work. He had been working a lot as a truck driver before then.
He was compelled to use crutches for a whole year as his body recovered from the horrific wounds. When he was prepared to return to work, however, he was unable to find employment. The manufacturing sector turned him down. The restaurant business turned him down. He was unable to lift anything. He was always in pain.
“When you have a serious broken-back injury, you never really recover from it,” Myers said.
Myers turned to panhandle because he had no other way to make money.
Myers’ life consisted of begging on the streets until he had enough money to buy his next meal from the dollar menu. He worked his way around the intersection until he gathered five to ten dollars. Then he’d take that money to a fast food restaurant and order something to eat.
Since he had stopped driving, Myers had lost his state-issued ID, which was required to receive benefits. Instead of giving him a ticket, Swalwell offered to drive him to the DMV, where they immediately ran into the next in a long line of hurdles.
“I’m no longer in the system,” Myers said. “I don’t exist anymore according to the DMV.”
Myers, who lives on the streets and has never, met his biological parents, struggled to obtain a birth certificate and documentation proving his residency in California in order to obtain a state identification card.
The latter was then unexpected. Swalwell agreed to assist him in obtaining the papers, which were a copy of Myers’ birth certificate from Highland Hospital and a letter from a church confirming that he does, in fact, dwell in Hayward.
He still couldn’t believe he had the first name, “I get my birth certificate and it says my name is Gordon Michael Myers!” he said. After three trips, he was issued a California Senior Citizen ID card.
Because the Sheriff’s Deputy decided to listen and help, Myers’ life was getting back on track.
“Each person has their own individual story,” Swalwell said. “You realize they are a person too. Mike has taught me a lot. This is the first chapter. I plan to get a resource to help him get disability service.” If it weren’t for people like Swalwell, then people like Myers may never rise up.
Watch it here: Youtube/CBS
Sources: Taphaps, Opposingviews, Abc7news