Friday, February 20, 2009

A sad experience at the Mall

Yesterday I went over to the mall to return some library videos and on my way back from there, I was stopped by a woman asking for money. I told her I didn't have much but asked her if a dollar would help.

As it happened, I had $2.00 left and gave it to her. Immediately, two police offers swooped down on us and told her to give me my money back. She did and the police were quite tough with her verbally and escorted her out of the mall. I don't know where they were hiding but they got her in the act of begging which is illegal here in Hamilton.

The police woman was the tougher of the two! They obviously knew this woman by the way they talked to her.

After they were gone, two very nice ladies came over to me and told me that this had happened to a friend of theirs and her purse had been stolen and she had been knocked down and injured.

These two ladies were so kind. They also pointed out how vulnerable I was using a walker and that dishonest people take advantage of vulnerable people.

I had never thought of myself as vulnerable, and that really hit home. I went home and cried and cried. My intention was so good.

I wonder why the police don't stop the fellow who begs each day at the corner of James and King? Perhaps it was because it was on Mall property that they swooped down. I don't know.

Needless to say, being the somewhat sensitive person that I am, I felt a little "down".

Happily, it was my poetry group that night and even though it was a very bitter cold night, I decided to go as it is very near my home.

I was very glad that I did go, as it cheered me up. I had written a poem about a Spring Rain Walk and this was the first group to critique it. The Executive in that group of poets are university/college teachers who teach poetry and they know how to encourage and help people improve. I always feel encouraged to continue after their meetings.

They do it in such a gentle way that one is not afraid to hear what they have to say.

I was glad that the day ended on such a positive note!


annaken said...

Thank you for your comments by e-mail, Grace.

I have had various reactions when I mentioned this to some Toronto friends - from "you are a darn fool" to kind remarks such as your's.

It is interesting to hear what other people think sometimes.

Kate's Blog said...

I feel like I am getting to know you well after all our visits, your support and our conversing by email. You are really a kind hearted knowledgeable woman and I was not suprised that you wanted to give the lady some of your money. I work in a down town ER and I see many situations like the one you described. Some of the situations I see are unfortunate as I beleive people need kindness and to be treated with respect. It is true that you need to be very alert and protect yourself in our downtown core. When I left your apartment last visit a man came out of nowhere in to your parking area and asked me for money. I did take the time to dig out some change but then realized I had two young girls. I am in a secluded area and I was putting myself at risk. I had to tell this difficult lesson to my two girls. I am not sure they really understood and they were glad I gave the man some money. They kept asking about him and worrying about him. Although my husband cautions me all the time. It is hard not to get involved but you need to always look out for your safety as well.

annaken said...

Hi Kathy,

I did not know that somebody accosted you in our parking area. That is frightening as it is very easy for anybody to go into that area. I don't know what the solution is to that problem. I think I will make sure that I will walk down with my guests with my phone in hand in case of trouble. I am so sorry that happened to you and I will mention it to the Board that this has happened.

Even though begging is against the law in Hamilton, it happens all the time. There is even one fellow who sits at King and James with his cap on the ground every day. He is almost a permanent fixture there.

I wish I could be tougher, but I hate to think that I did not help a deserving person who was in genuine need. I doubt she was that though as the police knew this lady so she must make a habbit of it.

I now feel very vulnerable and I didn't feel that way before.