I was walking to the corner of Frankford and Morrell Avenues this afternoon to catch a bus. I noticed a young guy -- I'd say in his 20's -- standing there and, as cars pulled up at the red light, went over to the cars to say something. As I arrived at the corner I could hear him, and then he saw me and asked me the same thing he was asking the people in their cars: "Can you spare some change so I can get on the bus?"
"No, sorry," I replied. My judgment was that he seemed a little drunk or high. It was odd because it was mid-afternoon, he didn't look like a typical homeless person asking for money, and my part of the city isn't an area where homeless people congregate. I also noticed earbuds in his ears -- either attached to a cell phone or mp3 player. For a couple of minutes he continued to ask drivers (incluiding a couple who pulled into the gas station on the same corner) for change. Then, finally, success. A driver handed him at least one dollar. Since it was folded I couldn't tell if there was more than one. He then pulled out his phone and began to make a call. Clearly he wasn't homeless.
Right after that the bus arrived. He got on before I did, and put his fare into the fare box: a single coin. In other words, a bus token! He didn't need any money for the bus after all. What a scam. I was tempted to ask him about it, but I figured I'd like to live a little longer.
My other tale is from the Twitter feed of WPVI (Channel 6) Action News anchor Jim Gardner. He retweeted a question from someone:
@Jim_Gardner My son just returned from Center City, he came home because kids were jumping random kids. Are you hearing anything about it?
He wanted to know where this was happening.
@Jim_Gardner He's down at 15th & Market and some friends told him to leave because people were being jumped by kids.
@Jim_Gardner He was down there,he's home now thank goodness, I was thinking of calling the 6th district.
So, instead of calling the police, this person decided to contact a TV news anchor via Twitter. That wouldn't be my first choice, but then again I'm not a parent. Luckily for everyone in Center City, Action News is checking on this report (according to Jim Gardner's next reply). Maybe they'll call the police.