Back in April of last year I wrote a post about a panhandler working the LL Bean plaza of the The Mall In Columbia. This past week I had my second panhandling experience while I was taking a picture for another post of the Brunswick Bowling sign on Carved Stone in Columbia.
While I was taking the picture I was approached by a stocky fellow who appeared to be in his late twenties or early thirties. His hair was cut short and he was dressed in typical Columbia casual (warm up jacket, sweat pants, etc.). He walked with big strides towards me. Before he got too close he shouted out “Hey buddy could you help me out so I can catch the MARC train into Baltimore. I just got out of prison.”
He stopped and added. “Look I’m just bein honest here.”
My knee jerk reaction was a quick “Sorry pal,” and he simply shrugged his shoulders, turned and headed off again.
As he walked away I began to have second thoughts. What if he really had been recently released by some local correctional institution?
There are more than a few of them in Howard County after all. I mean why else would he just blurt that out?
I liked the fact that he was dealing with his post penal situation in such an open and honest manner. I called him back over and laid a twenty on him. He was a little surprised and very grateful.
As he strode off in the direction of the Starbucks on the other side of Carved Stone I had two thoughts. For one, there isn’t a MARC station anywhere near here. Secondly, if he truly had just been released from prison then panhandling was probably a violation of his parole.