NYC Subway Series: The train hustler.

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You may not know this but there is an unofficial method of donating to charity in NYC. Though you won’t be able to get a tax write off for this one there is a good chance at one point or another you have donated here. The subway!

Thousands of people ride the subway everyday. Nearly every single one of them has and will continue to encounter some form of request for monetary support from someone while riding the train.  They come in many forms, some that have really come upon hard times, some trying to supplement their income using their talents and some that are just trying to hustle you. Below is a small sample of what you may encounter while riding the train:

– Homeless guy/girl asking for money.
– Performers dancing and doing acrobatics in the car.
– Doowop singing old men harmonizing.
– Little old lady with a flute of sorts that also sings the cucaracha song.
– Kids selling candy to support their basketball team.
– The ladies with the head piece with a piece of cardboard and their message written. They never actually speak. (Sorry, not sure what they are called, Gypsies?)

The list goes on and on. We could fill up page after page with the many ingenious methods people come up with to earn money on the train. However let’s spotlight one gentleman that really caught my particular attention with the same time sensitive story, 6 months apart! This man is no ordinary man, his skills go into another realm altogether. Not only that but also his level of deceit and ability to prey on innocent people’s emotions.

He enters the subway car and sobs loudly

“Oohh Dear God help me”.

Then in the same loud, pleading, tearful voice he starts his story:

I need help! We need help! Our community needs to stop killing and shooting at each other! My 6 year old granddaughter was shot and killed by a stray bullet! I need to bury my little girl! Oh dear God.

At this point we are all touched and paying attention. Anyone that knows me is aware that I am very emotional when it comes to young children.

I still need $19 to bury my little granddaughter. 6 years old! She would sing, dance, she was a little Angel! Please help! Please stop the killing.

This man is so good that he sets a reasonable amount as the quantity he needs.

I know people lie on the train, but I know you heard the news story about this little girl! I even have it right here if you want to read it.

Again, well played. He shows an A.M New York paper with a cover story

6 year old killed by stray bullet.

He’s playing the odds, who’s going to say “Let me see that story” and check the date of the paper? He then walks up and down the car.

No one should ever have to bury a grandchild, it’s just not right. We have to stop the violence in this world.

The first time I saw him I was extremely touched, I gave the man the $10 I had in my pocket. Can you imagine the surprise when on the train, several months later, the same man enters the train and begins the same sob story? Same newspaper, same date, same exact story.

Now unless this man has several granddaughters that have been shot and some really bad luck, he was obviously lying. I felt like calling him out on it but decided its not my job and definitely not worth getting into a fight over. Giving when you can is always a nice gesture, but the next time you see a guy claiming that his granddaughter was “shot last weekend”, ask to read the A.M newspaper!



Note the date on a post as it may be an old point of view. If you learn that your views are wrong, yet they remain the same, then you are a fool.

The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.